SEOUL – Korean Air shareholders voted on Wednesday against the re-election of the airline’s beleaguered chairman, Cho Yang-ho, as a director.
Almost three-quarters of the shareholders attended an annual meeting at the company headquarters in the capital Seoul, where 64 percent of them voted in favor of Cho’s reappointment, just short of the two-thirds required for the motion to be passed, the news agency Yonhap reported.
“Cho will retain his post as chairman of Korean Air but has lost his representative director position. So, he won’t participate in the decision-making process on the board of directors,” a company spokesperson told Yonhap.
The chairman of South Korea’s largest airline has been accused of avoiding inheritance tax and embezzling company funds.
The National Pension Service, owner of the second-largest stake in Korean Air at just over 12.5 percent, played an important role in his removal.
It voted against his reappointment, saying his record “hurt the corporate value and rights of shareholders” of the company.
The NPS is the world’s third-largest pension fund and South Korea’s largest institutional investor.
Cho and his family members have been involved in a series of scandals in recent years.
His wife was accused of physically and verbally abusing company staff and of employing domestic workers illegally.
Cho’s two daughters have also been in the spotlight for their behavior.
One of his daughters, Cho Hyun-min, a former senior executive at Korean Air, allegedly flew into a rage during a meeting in April last year and threw a glass at an advertising agency official and juice at several other participants.
Her elder sister, Cho Hyun-ah, a former vice president of the group, was sentenced to two years in prison in 2015 for forcing the return of a flight to the gate in 2014 to offload a flight attendant with whom she had an altercation.
Cho, members of his family members and those maintaining special relations with the company hold the largest stake in the company at 33.5 percent.