Hanjin Chief Clashes with His Mother over Control of Logistics Conglomerate | Be Korea-savvy

Hanjin Chief Clashes with His Mother over Control of Logistics Conglomerate

Hanjin Group's new chairman Cho Won-tae (image: Hanjin Group)

Hanjin Group’s new chairman Cho Won-tae (image: Hanjin Group)

SEOUL, Dec. 29 (Korea Bizwire)Hanjin Group chief Cho Won-tae has clashed with his mother over the group’s management, an industry official said Saturday, in a deepening family feud at South Korea’s largest logistics conglomerate.

Cho had a big argument with his mother, Lee Myung-hee, at Lee’s house in Seoul on Christmas over whether Lee sided with Cho’s elder sister, Cho Hyun-ah, who accused her younger brother of not following their late father’s teachings on how to run Hanjin Group.

A vase in the house’s living room broke into pieces as Cho erupted in anger and Lee suffered minor injuries, according to the official.

The escalation of the feud came two days after Cho Hyun-ah, who gained global notoriety for the “nut rage” incident in 2014, claimed that Cho Won-tae was reacting unfaithfully over family discussions on Hanjin Group.

Cho Hyun-ah told her legal representative that the late chairman wanted the family to cooperate and run the business together.

Cho Won-tae has later struck back, insisting he was doing all and only what his late father would have wanted.

Cho Won-tae took the helm of Hanjin Group after his father and former group chairman Cho Yang-ho died in April, possibly because of Cho Hyun-ah falling out of favor with their deceased father and the South Korean public.

In 2014, Cho Hyun-ah forced a plane back to the boarding gate at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport because she was upset with the way her nuts were served — in an unopened bag instead of on a plate.

Cho Hyun-ah, former vice president of the group’s flagship Korean Air Lines Co., made a comeback as the head of KAL Hotel Network Co., the hotel affiliate of the logistics giant, in March 2018.

But Cho Hyun-ah was dismissed from the post a month later, along with her younger sister, Cho Hyun-min, who was accused of having thrown water in the face of an ad agency manager during a meeting in March 2018.

Currently, Cho Won-tae holds a 6.52-percent stake in the group’s holding company, Hanjin KAL Corp., while Cho Hyun-ah controls a 6.49-percent stake and Cho Hyun-min controls 6.47 percent.

The late chairman’s wife, Lee Myung-hee, owns 5.31-percent stake in Hanjin KAL.

Delta Air Lines Inc. and the National Pension Fund control 10 percent and 7.34 percent, respectively.

Local activist fund Korea Corporate Governance Improvement (KCGI) has said it jacked up its stake in Hanjin KAL to 17.29 percent from the previous 15.98 percent, ratcheting up its battle with the logistics conglomerate for an improvement in governance structure.

KCGI and the airline conglomerate have been engaged in a battle over the group’s opaque governance structure and irregularities by founding family members that have dragged down stock prices of key affiliates, such as Korean Air.


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