SK Group heiress Chey Yoon-jeong/Photo courtesy of SK Group

This is the fourth of a series highlighting businesswomen related to South Korea’s sprawling business conglomerates, called chaebol. _ ED.

Little is known about SK Chairman Chey Tae-won’s oldest daughter Chey Yoon-chung. In fact, her English-language name is not certain as media outlets use different styles like Yoon-chung, Yoon-jeong, Yun-jeong, and Yoon-jung (An SK official confirmed that Yoon-chung is the right style).

One sure thing is that the heiress in her early 30s will play a big role in SK Group, South Korea’s third-largest conglomerate after Samsung and Hyundai Motor groups.

In terms of assets, SK Group even nudged past Hyundai Motor Group, according to the Korea Fair Trade Commission in April 2022.

Born in 1989, she studied in Beijing before crossing the Pacific to major in biology at the University of Chicago in the late 2000s and worked at the U.S. university’s brain research institute for two years.

After working as an intern at Harvard University and a Korean pharmaceutical company, she joined consulting firm Bain & Company midway through 2015 and worked there through early 2017.

She got aboard SK Biopharmaceuticals, an affiliate of SK Group, in June 2017 and tied the knot with her ex-colleague at Bain & Company late in the year.

In 2019, Chey entered Stanford University for her graduate study of bioinformatics. Upon acquiring a master’s degree, she is expected to return to SK Biopharmaceuticals, which was listed in 2020.

SK Group has such flagship affiliates as SK hynix, SK Innovation, and SK Telecom. SK hynix is the world’s No. 2 memory chipmaker, while SK Innovation is Korea’s top oil refiner. SK Telecom is the country’s leading mobile carrier.

When Chey opted to join SK Biopharmaceuticals in 2017, observers wondered why she chose the small unlisted start-up back then instead of the aforementioned representative SK units.

SK Biopharmaceuticals _ already big fish

But SK Biopharmaceuticals proved its upside potential last year as amply demonstrated by the investors’ big interest in the drug firm after its initial public offering (IPO).

It attracted the record-breaking deposit payments of $25.8 billion during the retail tranche in June 2020, a part of its IPO.

After the blockbuster flotation, investors started snapping up shares of SK Biopharmaceuticals after its shares started transactions on the Korean exchange on July 2, 2020.

In four days, its price soared more than five-fold to $224.9 from its IPO of $41.31. Its market capitalization once topped $17 billion to become the 13th largest in the country’s main bourse.

While studying at Stanford University, she returned home in July 2020 to take part in the event where SK Pharmaceuticals was listed in the Korea stock exchange with great fanfare.

Thereafter, its share price has been on the decrease and fell below the $150 mark in early 2021. This year, the share price further fell below $100, but the company is still regarded as having big potential.

Established in 2011, SK Biopharmaceuticals is expected to become a future cash cow of SK Group, although the company is losing money now.

Chey Yoon-chung information in detail

Date of birth: 1989

Educational background: University of Chicago, Stanford University

Wealth: Unknown


-Joined Bain & Company in 2015

-Got aboard SK Pharmaceuticals in 2017