Korean Air CEO Fires His Daughters After a Pair of Scandals

Apr 23, 2018

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The CEO of Korean Air, Cho Yang-ho, has fired his two daughters who were serving as executives for the carrier after a couple of embarrassing scandals involving the two women drew public outrage.

The most recent scandal involved the younger daughter, Emily Cho, who reportedly insulted an advertising executive and threw water in his face in March. Cho later apologized and said her outburst was “foolish,” but the incident caused public ire, especially with the labor unions, who demanded she step down from the airline’s executive team.

Emily Cho’s March outburst is reminiscent of her older sister Heather’s so-called “nut rage” incident in December 2014, in which she threatened, hit and shoved a Korean Air flight attendant for serving her macadamia nuts in a bag instead of a porcelain bowl. Seated in first class on a flight from New York (JFK) to Seoul (ICN), Heather Cho also demanded the plane be turned around so the offending flight attendant could be removed from the aircraft. Cho served five months of a one-year prison sentence after the episode. The lawsuit that put her behind bars called the incident a “prime example of the corrupt and entitled behavior of the members of elite South Korean business families,” and called Heather Cho the “princess” of the “so-called royal family” that runs the airline, according to CNN.

After serving her time, Heather Cho returned to Korean Air as president of the company’s hotel network. But, Emily Cho’s water-throwing scandal resurfaced the “nut rage” incident and brought both sisters’ tenures at the carrier to an end, seemingly for good this time.

“As chairman of Korean Air and as the head of my family, I feel miserable by the immature behavior of my daughters,” Cho Yang-ho said in a statement. “I apologize to all Koreans.”

The Korean Air scandals are the latest in a long list of corruption accusations among family-run conglomerates in South Korea. The business empires, called chaebol in Korean, are popular in the country and lately have been embroiled in controversy. Executives accused of wrongdoing often walk free without punishment, like Samsung executive Lee Jae-yong, who was accused of political corruption but had his prison sentence suspended in February.

H/T: CNN Money

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