Hanjin Group Chairman Cho Yang-ho/Courtesy of Korean Air

Chairman Cho dies at age of 70

Hanjin Group Chairman Cho Yang-ho died from a chronic ailment in Los Angeles, the conglomerate said on April 8. The tycoon, who has led the world’s top-tier transportation conglomerate for the last two decades, was 70.

Korean Air, a major subsidiary of Hanjin Group and Korea’s leading flag carrier, said that details of funeral will be announced later.

Cho was the son of Hanjin Group founder Cho Choong-hoon.

He studied industrial engineering at Inha University near Seoul and got an MBA from the University of Southern California. All of his three siblings are also graduates of the US ivory tower.

Cho was appointed as chairman and chief executive of Korean Air in early 1999 after having served as president of the airline company since 1992. Before that, he worked at various senior executive positions of the firm.

Cho was a founding member of the Sky Team alliance and carried out various activities on top of assuming his corporate responsibilities. For example, he was named vice chairman of the Federation of Korean Industries, the country’s top business lobby, in the late 1990s.

In addition, he has served on the Board of Governors for the International Air Transport Association for a long time. He was expected to play a major role in hosting the association’s first meeting in Seoul slated for this June.

However, his last days were full of misery.

First of all, he has been on trial for allegedly embezzling more than $18 million. His wife and daughter are also facing criminal charges ranging from embezzlement and smuggling luxury goods.

Late last month, he was forced off the boardroom of Korean Air as the company’s shareholders voted against his re-appointment as director.

He was survived by his wife, one son and two daughters: Cho Won-tae, Cho Hyun-ah, and Cho Hyeon-min. The first two are known better by their English names of Walter Cho and Heather Cho.


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