Cho Yang-ho

Last updated
Cho Yang-ho
Cho Yang-ho in the 2015-2016 of Korea-France Bilateral Exchanges (cropped).jpg
Cho Yang-ho in 2016
Born(1949-03-08)8 March 1949
Died7 April 2019(2019-04-07) (aged 70)
Korean name
Revised Romanization Jo Yang-ho
McCune–Reischauer Cho Yang-ho

Cho Yang-ho (Hangul : 조양호; sometimes written Y. H. Cho; 8 March 1949 – 7 April 2019) [1] [2] was a South Korean businessman who was the chairman and chief executive officer of Korean Air, chairman of the Hanjin Group, and a founding member of SkyTeam alliance.

Hangul Native alphabet of the Korean language

The Korean alphabet, known as Hangul, has been used to write the Korean language since its creation in the 15th century by King Sejong the Great. It may also be written as Hangeul following the standard Romanization.

Chairman leading or presiding officer of an organized group such as a board, committee, or deliberative assembly

The chairman is the highest officer of an organized group such as a board, a committee, or a deliberative assembly. The person holding the office is typically elected or appointed by the members of the group, and the chairman presides over meetings of the assembled group and conducts its business in an orderly fashion.

Chief executive officer highest-ranking corporate officer or administrator

The chief executive officer (CEO) or just chief executive (CE), is the most senior corporate, executive, or administrative officer in charge of managing an organization – especially an independent legal entity such as a company or nonprofit institution. CEOs lead a range of organizations, including public and private corporations, non-profit organizations and even some government organizations. The CEO of a corporation or company typically reports to the board of directors and is charged with maximizing the value of the entity, which may include maximizing the share price, market share, revenues or another element. In the non-profit and government sector, CEOs typically aim at achieving outcomes related to the organization's mission, such as reducing poverty, increasing literacy, etc.


In May 2018, a protest rally called for Cho to step down as chairman of Korean Air [3] He died on April 8, 2019. [4] [5]

Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd., operating as Korean Air, is the largest airline and flag carrier of South Korea based on fleet size, international destinations and international flights. The airline's global headquarters are located in Seoul, South Korea. Korean Air was founded as Korean National Airlines in 1946. After several years of service and expansion, the airline was fully privatized in 1969.


Born in Seoul, [2] Cho was the chairman of the Hanjin Group—one of the world's largest transportation conglomerates. He was named to this post in February 2003 after having served as the Group's vice chairman since 1996. He was also the Director and CEO of various subsidiary companies including Hanjin Shipping, Korea Airport Service (KAS), JungSeok Enterprise Co. and Hanjin Information Systems & Telecommunications (HIST).

Seoul Special City in Seoul Capital Area, South Korea

Seoul, officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. With surrounding Incheon metropolis and Gyeonggi province, Seoul forms the heart of the Seoul Capital Area. Seoul is ranked as the fourth largest metropolitan economy in the world and is larger than London and Paris.

Hanjin South Korean conglomerate

The Hanjin Group is a South Korean conglomerate, or chaebol. The group is a holding company that includes a shipping company, Hanjin Shipping, and Korean Air (KAL), which was acquired in 1969.

Conglomerate (company) two or more corporations that fall under one corporate group

A conglomerate is a combination of multiple business entities operating in entirely different industries under one corporate group, usually involving a parent company and many subsidiaries. Often, a conglomerate is a multi-industry company. Conglomerates are often large and multinational.

In addition to his corporate responsibilities, Cho was elected vice-chairman of The Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) in 1996, and held the title of honorary consul-general to Ireland in the Republic of Korea from 1995 until his death in 2019. He was named Chairman of the Korea-French High Level Businessmen's Club in October 2000 and also served on the Board of Governors for the International Air Transport Association (IATA) after being elected in May 2001. In addition, he became chairman of the Korea-Canada Business Council in 1993 and, from 2004 to 2019, served as Chairman of the Korea Defense Industry Association. Cho formerly sat on the University of Southern California (USC) Board of Trustees for a span beginning in 1997. [6] In addition, he served as the chairman of the board of directors at both Inha and Hankuk Aviation University.

International Air Transport Association trade group of airlines

The International Air Transport Association is a trade association of the world’s airlines. Consisting of 290 airlines, primarily major carriers, representing 117 countries, the IATA's member airlines account for carrying approximately 82% of total available seat miles air traffic. IATA supports airline activity and helps formulate industry policy and standards. It is headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada with Executive Offices in Geneva, Switzerland.

University of Southern California Private research university in Los Angeles, California, United States

The University of Southern California is a private research university in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1880, it is the oldest private research university in California. For the 2018–19 academic year, there were 20,000 students enrolled in four-year undergraduate programs. USC also has 27,500 graduate and professional students in a number of different programs, including business, law, engineering, social work, occupational therapy, pharmacy, and medicine. It is the largest private employer in the city of Los Angeles, and generates $8 billion in economic impact on Los Angeles and California.

Trustee person who holds property, authority, or a position of trust or responsibility for the benefit of another

Trustee is a legal term which, in its broadest sense, is a synonym for anyone in a position of trust and so can refer to any person who holds property, authority, or a position of trust or responsibility for the benefit of another. A trustee can also refer to a person who is allowed to do certain tasks but not able to gain income. Although in the strictest sense of the term a trustee is the holder of property on behalf of a beneficiary, the more expansive sense encompasses persons who serve, for example, on the board of trustees of an institution that operates for a charity, for the benefit of the general public, or a person in the local government.

In 2000, he was convicted of tax evasion. [7] [8]

In March 2019, under the support of NPS, he was ousted from the board by shareholders amid various scandals involving him and his family members. [9] This was the first time that a founding member of a major South Korean family was forced from the board and it is considered to have been a victory for those working to restrict the powers of the chaebols . [10]

National Pension Service public pension fund in South Korea

The National Pension Service of Korea is a public pension fund in South Korea. It is the third largest in the world with $430 billion in assets, and is the largest investor in South Korea.

A chaebol is a large industrial conglomerate that is run and controlled by an owner or family in South Korea. A chaebol often consists of a large number of diversified affiliates, controlled by an owner whose power over the group often exceeds legal authority. The term is often used in a context similar to that of the English word "conglomerate". The term was derived from the Japanese zaibatsu, sharing a similar structure and origins. It was first used in English in 1984. There are several dozen large South Korean family-controlled corporate groups that fall under this definition.

Personal life, family and death

Cho was the son of Cho Choong-hoon  [ ko ], the founder of Hanjin Group and head of Korean Air.

Cho was married, with one son and two daughters: Cho Won-tae, Cho Hyun-ah (also known by the English name Heather Cho), and Cho Hyeon-min. All three official children are also graduates of the University of Southern California. [1] His daughter, Cho Hyun-ah, ran the company's hotel division. She was the subject of a December 2014 news report alleging that she physically struck crew members, ordered a crew member to kneel and beg for forgiveness, and ordered a Korean Air Lines plane to return to the gate to force a flight attendant off the plane because a packet of macadamia nuts was served to her in a bag rather than on a plate. [1] [11] She was forced to resign after the incident and was sentenced to one year imprisonment without probation in February 2015. She was released after serving 3 months. [12]

On 7 April 2019, his family confirmed that Cho has died at a U.S. hospital in Los Angeles County, California, at the age of 70. [13]



After receiving a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from Inha University in 1975, Cho received an MBA from the University of Southern California in 1979, and a doctoral degree in business administration from Inha University in 1988. Additionally in 1998, he received an honorary doctorate degree in aviation business administration from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Florida.

Korean Air Boeing 747-400 Korean Air (3374829081).jpg
Korean Air Boeing 747-400

Cho was named Chairman and CEO of Korean Air in April 1999 having served as President and CEO of the airline since 1992. Prior to that, he held positions as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Korean Air. Cho began working for Korean Air as a manager in the Americas Regional Headquarters in 1974. He worked his way up the company ranks by continually adding various departments to his overall responsibilities - including maintenance, marketing, purchasing, information systems and corporate planning.

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The nut rage incident, also referred to as nutgate, was an air rage incident that occurred on December 5, 2014, at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. Korean Air vice president Heather Cho, dissatisfied with the way a flight attendant served nuts on the plane, ordered the aircraft to return to the gate before takeoff.

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  1. 1 2 3 Fred A. Bernstein, Checking In: Dressing It Up Before Tearing It Down, The New York Times, June 7, 2009, Accessed June 8, 2009.
  2. 1 2 "[Who Is ?] 조양호 한진그룹 회장". The Business Post (in Korean). 4 March 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  4. Choi, Ji-hee (April 8, 2019). [속보]조양호 한진그룹 회장 별세. The Chosun Ilbo (in Korean). Chosun Ilbo Company. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  5. Herald, The Korea (2019-04-12). "Funeral for Korean Air chief begins". Retrieved 2019-04-12.
  7. In-Soo Nam (February 11, 2015). "Former Korean Air Executive Faces Judgment Over 'Nut Rage' Incident". Wall Street Journal.
  8. "Seoul Jails Embattled Chairman of Korean Air". New York Times. November 12, 1999.
  9. Heekyong Yang; Hyunjoo Jin (2019-03-26). "UPDATE 2-State pension fund to oppose Korean Air CEO's re-election to board". Reuters. Retrieved 2019-04-08.
  10. "Korean Air's 'nut rage' father dies at 70". 2019-04-08. Retrieved 2019-04-08.
  12. "Korean Air executive guilty in 'nut rage' case". 12 February 2015.
  13. Park, Kyunghee (8 April 2019). "Hanjin Group's Cho Yang-ho Dies at Hospital in Los Angeles". Bloomberg. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
Preceded by
Flag of South Korea.svg Kim Jin-sun
President of Organizing Committee for 2018 Winter Olympics
Succeeded by
Flag of South Korea.svg Lee Hee-beom