Korean Air says chairman Cho Yang-ho dies at 70

FILE PHOTO: Korean Air Lines Chairman Cho Yang-ho arrives at a prosecutor's office in Seoul
FILE PHOTO: Korean Air Lines Chairman Cho Yang-ho arrives at a prosecutor’s office in Seoul, South Korea, June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo

April 8, 2019

SEOUL (Reuters) – Korean Air chairman Cho Yang-ho has died, the South Korean airline said on Monday, less than three weeks after investors voted to remove him from the board in a landmark victory for shareholder activism.

Cho, 70, passed away in the United States early on Monday from a chronic ailment, the company said in a statement. A company official said Cho had a lung condition.

Korean Air has been plagued in recent years by a series of scandals involving its founding family members, culminating in the indictment of Cho last year on charges of embezzlement and breach of trust. Cho denied the charges against him.

The troubles began after Cho’s eldest daughter, Heather Cho, made headlines in 2014 when she lost her temper over the way she was served nuts in first class and ordered the Korean Air plane to return to its gate at a New York airport.

The “nut rage” incident severely tarnished the carrier’s image and generated derisive international headlines for months.

After Cho’s death was publicly announced, shares in Korean Air rose 3 percent as of 0017 GMT, versus the wider market’s 0.3 percent gain.

(Reporting by Joori Roh and Ju-min Park; editing by Richard Pullin and Stephen Coates)

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