Both Korean Air Heiresses Resign Effective Immediately

Filed Under: Korean Air

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:

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 Agencythe 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.

  1. Add the mother. Korea media reporting police have opened an investigation on the mother for abusing staff who renovated her home in 2013. All in the family, a rotten trifecta of Cruellas.

  2. Since this crap keeps on showing up on your blog, let me weigh in on this:

    Smuggling a million of Korean Wong in goods is like bringing in $1000 worth of good without paying duty tax. Doesn’t sound like a serious offense to me.

    Throw some water on someone while is not nice, isn’t that big of a deal. Having a paper cup of cold water spilled again isn’t a serious offense.

    One sister wants to “avenge” another sister written in a private message? This is a private message and maybe just something to make the family member feel good. Imagine all private messages you wrote to your family is made public. I am sure we can find something you wrote that aren’t so nice.

  3. Ministry is also blocking their path to succession, insuring neither of them succeed oppa in running Hanjin KAL.

  4. @ Jackie

    “like bringing in $1000 worth of good without paying duty tax. Doesn’t sound like a serious offense to me.”

    No, tax fraud is never serious. It’s just a game, where *everyone* tries to avoid paying their obligations to the community, so that everyone else has to pay more.

    And anyway, taxes are for little people, right?


    It’s a criminal offence. Rightly. People who try to dump their financial obligations onto everyone else *should* be subject to sanction – not least because, otherwise, why should any of us bother paying any tax at all?

    Or are you one of these people who speak about the “burden” of taxation, as if it is always A Bad Thing? Taxes are part of what we pay to provide a better society for all of us.

    You may disagree with how some tax money is allocated, but I’d suggest that’s a different issue from whether or not we are all obliged to pay what we owe.

  5. Am I missing something here but what is the issue if the chairman wanted his office soundproofed?

  6. @ Paul,

    I am saying they are not smuggling drugs. They are not a part of smuggling ring that routinely brings luxury goods for sale and they personally profit. They bought something abroad and might have forgotten to declare it or they just didn’t bother. I know it is not a good thing, but I don’t consider that a serious crime. If we actually force every passenger to open their bags and go through inspection, we would find lots of people bring in things personally they do not properly declare. I do not think they should all be fired from their job for that.

  7. even the brother of the cho has been problematic – he swore profanity and verbally abuse a protestor in 2010 and in 2005 had a traffic accident – not sure he pushed an elderly woman who confronted him about his reckless driving and back in 2000 he was caught by a civilian in 2000 when he ran over an on-duty police officer and fled the scene after being caught violating traffic laws.
    even the wife of the chief had a terrible personality –

  8. @ Steve

    I am in fact a miserable old fart at parties. Then again, pretty much the only thing you know about me is that I post comments on a nerdy specialist blog, so why would you expect me to have any social skills at all?

    Though so far as I’m aware I don’t have anything untoward up my bottom.

  9. @ Jackie

    I’d be much less bothered if they were smuggling drugs. There, the state is using its oppressive powers to enforce one version of morality on all its citizens. A bit like Prohibition Era America (and we all know how well that turned out), or, if you like, attempts to define homosexuality as a criminal perversion – the state interfering in something which is none of its business.

    I’m much more bothered by the idea that they (allegedly) imported luxury goods but, er, forgot to declare them. That’s an offence against all of us, whereas smuggling drugs for personal use is more an attempt to make an independent adult decision about how we want to control our own brain chemistry.

    The great anti-psychiatrist Ronnie Laing famously observed that it was interesting that, no matter what their ideology (from Maoist to Libertarian), the *only* thing that every single government could agree on was that under no circumstances should a citizen be allowed to control their own brain chemistry.

  10. @ Steve

    Goodness. I’m beginning to think I’m not the only poster here with zero social skills.

  11. @ Paul

    Get a clue. You think people actually smuggle drugs for personal use? And the rest of your writing is also idiotic.

  12. @Jackie
    This is not an individual forgetting to declare customs or just putting some $1000 stuff on his own. This is an organised tax/evasion crime that the entire KE is involved that is in question. This is a CEO of Korean Air using the company as an agent to bring a lot of luxiry goods and etc. (at least $1000 each) while dodging customs.
    This is serious crime. It is felony in most countries.
    Throwing a “cup” full of water to employees – I hope nobody is seriously injured. One off then it is just bad; but if this is everyday occurence, then it is different matter.
    On the last thing; wow. I know that you might be the poor soul who have to write all this to keep yourself intact (common occurance in Korea) but I am astonished to hear someone advocating who say one wants to avemge the legal system for punishing a serious criminal.

  13. Are Steve and Jackie the same person posting under a different name?

    Back on topic…I suppose every K-Drama needs a good wealthy villain or two.

  14. @Jackie They didn’t just forget to declare a $1,000 purchase. They routinely had Korean air employees smuggle luxury items into the country on their behalf to avoid paying taxes including furniture somehow. Sounds criminal to me.

  15. @Jackie you seem to misunderstand the severity of these offenses. First of all, I’m not sure where you got the idea that they only smuggled in KRW 1 million of goods. The allegation is that they routinely ordered KAL staff to assist them in getting their luxury purchases into the country undeclared and that at least tens of thousands of USD of goods are involved (that’d be tens of millions of KRW).

    Secondly, read up on the chaebol. These families were long given carte blanche because their companies helped turn the ROK into a developed, first world nation. While the first generation was revered for their contributions to the country, their children have grown up spoiled brats with an unrivaled sense of entitlement. It’s not that there was a single private text promising to “avenge” her sister, but a overarching sense that they are above the laws that apply to everyone else.

    Finally, about that cup of water… You probably don’t speak Korean, but search for the recording of Cho Hyun Min’s tantrum. She is absolutely screeching at the top of her lungs, berating her staff. This is, sadly, how many bosses in Korea feel they are allowed to treat their staff, and public tolerance of this behavior is running out.

  16. Perhaps they’ve resigned to take a role in the Trump administration? Sounds like the father would be a great head of the EPA as well.

  17. “Throw some water on someone while is not nice, isn’t that big of a deal. Having a paper cup of cold water spilled again isn’t a serious offense.”

    @Jackie: I work for a major financial firm. If ANYONE did that in my company they’d be fired for gross misconduct. Someone having a cup of water thrown at them may not really be worth a criminal trial, but it is certainly grounds for immediate dismissal. Physical assault, however minor, has no place in the modern workplace.

  18. @ Justin


    I fear Jackie has a very topsy-turvy worldview.

    Though in truth I suspect she is one of the Korean sisters writing under a pseudonym.

  19. So so the Korean Nutrage has already infected some of you here..really charming comments on one another! I am getting excited of the outcome of these two twisted evil sisters, actually the whole Cho Family..this is worth watching and pursuing how this contemporary “Korean Dynasty” goes from here…this family makes the Carrightons run for their money..

  20. Lucky if you start watching some Kdrama series during flights you can probably understand how bad it can get on those corporates family run businesses in Korea lol. They are actually a lot better than many US series tbh.

  21. “Hopefully they can just be rich at home, rather than terrorizing the company’s staff.”

    Now they’ll just be terrorizing the household staff instead.

  22. This happens when you’re spoiled as fuck and daddy treated you like his little dumb princesses all your life long. Such worthless entitled people.

  23. The two girls also have problems, but the whole family is the problem.
    I am living in Korea now, and Korea is now in kind of a state of turmoil due to many things related to Korean air.

    1. The Cho family has forced Korean Air’s employees to carry fancy bags, drinks which is duty-free, and even ramen and fruits. It’s smuggling.

    2. Mr. Cho’s wife assaulted an employee at the Grand Hyatt Incheon, which is managed by Hanjin group (Hanjin group is running Korean Air.)

    3. the little peanut(Cho Hyun Min) is American. Since she is not a Korean, She can’t be a member of a board of directors of Jin Air. But she had been a director for six years. It’s illegal.

    4. Mr. Cho demoted the flight attendant from first class to economy class for having endives which he dislike.

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