Add Hanjin Group’s Korean Air Lines Co. to the country’s family-run conglomerates that are seeing the founding clan’s representation diluted.
This time, Hanjin Chairman Cho Yang-ho pushed out his youngest daughter after allegations she threw water in the face of an advertising agency worker during a business meeting. For good measure, he also fired his eldest daughter who four years ago spent five months in jail after the so-called nut rage incident. The executive had forced a plane to return to the gate at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York because of the way she’d been served her macadamia nuts.
Cho Yang-ho, also chairman of Korean Air, said in an email Sunday he will promote professional business managers to replace the airline’s Senior Vice President Emily Cho, his youngest daughter, and Heather Cho, president of the Kal Hotel Network. The chairman announced the changes days after South Korean police had searched Korean Air headquarters following reports of the “water rage” incident.
South Korea’s family-run conglomerates from Samsung Group to Hyundai Motor Group and Lotte Group have been under intensifying pressure from investors and the government to improve transparency and reduce cross-shareholdings that have kept the groups firmly under family control.
Korean Air’s net income will probably fall 46 percent his year to 430.8 billion won ($403 million), according the average of 13 analyst estimates. The airline’s stock, which gained 0.9 percent in early trading Monday, is down about 6.3 percent since April 12, when local media first reported the alleged water rage incident.