Korean Air boss quits as Jin Air co-CEO

Mr Cho Yang Ho (centre, flanked by journalists) still retains his post as an internal board director at budget carrier Jin Air.
Mr Cho Yang Ho (centre, flanked by journalists) still retains his post as an internal board director at budget carrier Jin Air.PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL • Korean Air Lines chairman Cho Yang Ho has stepped down from his post of co-chief executive at budget affiliate Jin Air, amid growing pressure on the members of the airline giant's controlling family to stay away from management.

Mr Cho has been replaced by Mr Kwon Hyuk Min, currently the head of maintenance at Jin Air. Mr Cho, however, retains his post as an internal board director.

The management change comes at a time when the airline group is already under fire over bad behaviour by Mr Cho's younger daughter Hyun Min, who allegedly threw water at an attendee of a business meeting last month.

She is the younger sister of Hyun Ah, who made headlines in 2014 when she lost her temper over the way she was served nuts in first class on a Korean Air plane and demanded that it return to its gate at a New York airport.

She was jailed, and returned to work as an executive of Korean Air's hotel affiliate in March.

In response to the public backlash over what is seen as unchecked bad behaviour by the rich and powerful, Mr Cho has publicly apologised and made his daughters step down from their positions at the airline. He has also said Korean Air would create a vice-chairman position amid growing calls for professional managers.

The company reported a 56 per cent jump in first-quarter operating profit yesterday.

The Jin Air stock is down about 4 per cent for the month, hit by concerns that it could lose its licence after the discovery that Ms Cho Hyun Min was a registered board member despite being a US citizen, an alleged violation of transport law.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2018, with the headline 'Korean Air boss quits as Jin Air co-CEO'. Print Edition | Subscribe