“Now I am living my days feeling sorry that I cannot be with you, all of the SK Group employees, although I know what is occurring to our company and all of you are fighting desperately in the middle of a tough situation.”
“I am striving to find what I can do and what matters to me most in my present situation.”
“80,000 SK Group members are my greatest source of power that I can rely on and one reason why I am living. I would love all of you to take good care of yourselves since it will be getting chilly soon after Chuseok Holiday.”
Chey, Tae-won in prison sent his greetings to the SK Group members.
“Please hang in there and take good care of yourself. We will stick to the same place waiting for you.”
“I feel sincerity in your letter. Go for it.”
“To go through a hardship wisely is the power of the SK Group.”
The SK Group members respond to Chairman Chey’s words.
SEOUL, Sep. 5 (Korea Bizwire) – Former SK Group chairman Chey Tae-won has, reportedly, left his message to employees ahead of Chuseok holiday. In his genial greetings entitled ‘I wish you had rich and happy Chuseok Holiday,’ Mr. Chey expressed his genuine affection for the group members and encouraged them to get over one of the most challenging times in the group’s history. The greetings — made via the company’s intranet ‘toktok’ on September 3 — are considered as the first official message to all of the employees after his confinement.
Mr. Chey is in prison after South Korea’s Supreme Court ruled a four-year prison sentence to him for embezzlement charges. The verdict is still one of the toughest penalties for a head of a major family-owned conglomerate, or ‘chaebol,’ in South Korea’s recent history which stands in stark contrast to what South Korean high courts have given to business leaders so far, according to some political pundits.
Given that Mr. Chey took the leadership to drive SK Group’s business expansion strategies across the globe, little wonder the absence of the former chairman has resulted in the group’s pulling out of major investment plans in a row.
Recently, the SK Group has decided to discontinue a large-scale fuel cell development project and this move is in the wake of getting out of the solar cell business, saying for now it felt cumbersome in making massive investments in the projects that did not guarantee immediate profits. The project team fell apart, and the contract with Topsoe Fuel Cell, a Danish company, which jointly worked for the project, was not renewed after the initial contract term was expired.
In the mean time, Mr. Chey’s family’s “non-business” activities, have drawn public attention of late. His philanthropic act by donating his money, albeit in prison, has become the talk of the business town and now, his youngest daughter’s volunteering the military service has also made headlines, largely creating a great deal of favorite responses from the public who long for any exemplary cases of noblesse oblige from the elite business family in the nation where the rich is not that admired by the public.
According to local reports, Chey Tae-won promised he would donate his entire 2013 earnings (annual salary) of 30.1 billion won ($29.3 million) to charity in August and in fact he delivered his promise, donating on August 15 that his shares in SK C&C– SK group’s de facto holding company — equivalent to 18.3 million dollars. Mr Chey is well known for his enthusiasm for value created by a social enterprise so his charitable money will be given to a host of entities to that end.
Besides, Chey Ming-jeong, Chairman Chey’s second daughter, was in the spotlight because she entered the Republic of Korea Naval Academy (ROKNA). TV show host and former lawyer Kang Yong-seok said, “It amounts to a very special case that a daughter from a top conglomerate joined the military. What is more special is that she applied for the Naval Academy to become an officer in the sailing branch, which is a combat branch infamous for its harsh military environment.”
Political commentator and professor Lee Cheol-hee said, “It is astonishing that a daughter from Korea’s top three family-owned conglomerate serves in the military; what is more, she chooses to be an officer. Surely, it sets an example for the world.” “It is exhilarating to see a daughter in a super-rich family do what she likes to do,” he added.
Reportedly, Chey Min-jeong worked part-time at a convenient store for an hourly wage of 4,000 wons (4 dollars), with her financially independent from her family.