[ABS CBN News] Why Koreans no longer tolerate chaebol’s bad behavior

December 10, 2014


Cho Hyun-ah, daughter of Hanjin Group Chairman Choi Yang-ho and Korean Air Vice President

Korean Air Vice President Heather Cho’s conduct on a plane bound from New York to Incheon on Friday struck a nerve because she is the daughter of the carrier’s chairman. (Korea Times file)

[ABS CBN NEWS] —  The uproar that forced a Korean Air Lines executive to resign after delaying a flight because she was unhappy with the way nuts were served points to growing intolerance of corporate bad behavior in a country dominated by family conglomerates.

Public frustration has long simmered over a culture of impunity that saw bosses of corporate groups known as chaebol often evading jail time for more serious offences. Due to poor governance and stingy dividend payouts, shares of South Korean companies trade at discounts to peers elsewhere.

That culture is slowly changing under the government of President Park Geun-hye, who took office last year after a convincing electoral win partly based on a tougher line on self-serving or abusive behavior by chaebol and their families.

“People have always felt this frustration, but the previous perspective was you can’t discipline the chaebol because we can’t survive and thrive without them,” said Shaun Cochran, Korea head of investment bank CLSA.  [READ MORE]