Cho Yang-ho

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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 RomanizationJo Yang-ho
McCune–ReischauerCho Yang-ho

Cho Yang-ho (Korean조양호; 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.


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).

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.[3] In addition, he served as the chairman of the board of directors at both Inha and Hankuk Aviation University.

In 2000, he was convicted of tax evasion.[4][5]

In May 2018, a protest rally called for Cho to step down as chairman of Korean Air.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8]

Personal life and death[edit]

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

Cho was married, with a son, Cho Won-tae, and two daughters: Cho Hyun-ah (also known as Heather Cho) and Cho Hyeon-min. All three children are graduates of the University of Southern California.[1] 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][9] 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.[10]

On 8 April 2019, Cho died at a hospital in Los Angeles County, California, US, at the age of 70.[11][12][13]


  • April 2005: Order of the Polar Star [mn] (highest civilian honor awarded by Mongolia to foreign citizens)
  • October 2005: Moran Medal of the Order of Civil Merit (South Korea)
  • January 2012: Mugunghwa Medal of the Order of Civil Merit (South Korea)
  • November 2015: Grand Officier in the Legion of Honour (France)


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.

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.


  1. ^ a b c Fred A. Bernstein, Checking In: Dressing It Up Before Tearing It Down, The New York Times, June 7, 2009, Accessed June 8, 2009.
  2. ^ a b "[Who Is ?] 조양호 한진그룹 회장". The Business Post (in Korean). 4 March 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  3. ^
  4. ^ In-Soo Nam (February 11, 2015). "Former Korean Air Executive Faces Judgment Over 'Nut Rage' Incident". Wall Street Journal.
  5. ^ "Seoul Jails Embattled Chairman of Korean Air". New York Times. November 12, 1999.
  6. ^
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ "Korean Air's 'nut rage' father dies at 70". 2019-04-08. Retrieved 2019-04-08.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Korean Air executive guilty in 'nut rage' case". 12 February 2015.
  11. ^ Park, Kyunghee (8 April 2019). "Hanjin Group's Cho Yang-ho Dies at Hospital in Los Angeles". Bloomberg. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  12. ^ Choi, Ji-hee (April 8, 2019). [속보]조양호 한진그룹 회장 별세. The Chosun Ilbo (in Korean). Chosun Ilbo Company. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  13. ^ Herald, The Korea (2019-04-12). "Funeral for Korean Air chief begins". Retrieved 2019-04-12.
Preceded by
South Korea Kim Jin-sun
President of Organizing Committee for 2018 Winter Olympics
Succeeded by
South Korea Lee Hee-beom