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Cho Yang-ho (photo Korean Air)

Korean Air chief and ‘nut rage’ father dies

Cho Yang-ho was a distinguished figure in the airline industry, but his position was overshadowed in recent years by family scandals.

The death has been announced of the chairman of Korean Air, Cho Yang-ho, who passed away at a hospital in Los Angeles yesterday, aged 70.

The cause of death has not been given by the company, which made the announcement, only that it follows a prolonged illness.

Cho was in the airline industry all his life, as his father Choong-Hoon Cho acquired and privatised Korean Air 50 years ago.

He was also one of the founders of the SkyTeam airline alliance and led a bid committee that brought the 2018 Winter Olympics to South Korea.

He recently completed the development of the Wilshire Grand complex in LA, the tallest building in the USA west of the Mississippi.

Infamous incidents
However, the chairman’s leadership of Korean Air was overshadowed in recent years by a number of family scandals, including the infamous ‘nut rage’ incident in 2014 involving his eldest daughter Heather Cho.

She was put on trial over the incident. Convicted of violating aviation safety, coercion and abuse of power, she served five months in prison.

Another daughter, Cho Hyun-min, was dismissed from the company after allegedly throwing water in a colleague’s face during a meeting. Their mother has also been questioned over alleged abuse of employees.

Cho himself was on trial for corruption and had been ousted from the company board just last month, the BBC reports. He denied all charges.

The Financial Times reports that his son Cho Won-tae, Korean Air’s president, is expected to succeed him as chairman.

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