The two Korean Air heiresses have been under fire for the past few weeks. Back in 2014 one of them made headlines for her “nut rage” incident on a Korean Air flight. For her actions on that flight, she ended up serving a brief jail sentence, and was also fired from her dad’s company.
The two sisters have been back in the news again within the past month:
- Heather Cho (Ms. Nut Rage) made headlines because she was making a return to her dad’s company after being fired; rather than working directly for Korean Air, she would be managing some of their hotels
- Cho Hyun-min (Ms. Nut Rage’s sister) made headlines for being accused of assault, as she allegedly threw a cup of water in the face of a marketing company executive that the airline was working with
- Both sisters are now making headlines for allegedly illegally smuggling luxury goods into Korea without paying import taxes
This saga is apparently getting a ton of media attention in Korea, and is putting a lot of pressure on the company, given that this is largely reflective of the divide between the “ruling” families in the country and everyone else.
There’s some news on that front, though let’s see how long it lasts this time. As reported by Yonhap News Agency, the company has confirmed that the daughters of Korean Air’s chairman are stepping down from their roles at the company effective immediately. Of course this isn’t the first time this has happened, since Heather Cho stepped down a few years back, and just made a return to the company.
It looks like Heather Cho’s return to the company lasted for just a few weeks, while her sister is now resigning for the first time, as far as I know.
Here’s what the chairman had to say:
“I sincerely apologize for upsetting the general public and employees at Korean Air over issues related to members of my family,” Korean Air chief Cho Yang-ho said. He said his two daughters will be stripped of all their responsibilities.
The chairman, in addition, said the company will appoint a professional executive, Suk Tai-soo, CEO of KAL Hotel Network, as Korean Air’s new vice chairman. The move is expected to breathe new life into the family-run business group, which has struggled with mounting scandal.
This is a step in the right direction, though it sure seems to me like they don’t have any intention of changing the culture of the company, but rather are just responding to the public outcry here. Heather Cho should have never been brought back to the company, and I wouldn’t be surprised if both sisters eventually make a return to the company with different roles after a few years.
There are also new allegations that Korean Air’s chairman has ordered the soundproofing of his office, though that’s denied by the company:
“It is our understanding that the chairman ordered the renovations of his seventh floor office,” an airline employee said. His claims were backed up by others working for the company, although none wanted to reveal their names.
A Korean Air spokesperson confirmed the work was carried out at the offices of all executives and that soundproofing was not involved.
He added that there was some use of silicon to fill in cracks in the door leading to the chairman’s office.
Who knows how much truth there is to those rumors.
Regardless, I’m happy to see that public pressure is forcing the company to get rid of these ladies. Hopefully they can just be rich at home, rather than terrorizing the company’s staff.