State pension fund backs incumbent Hanjin chairman amid leadership feud

March 26, 2020

South Korea’s state pension fund on Thursday said that it has decided to vote for the reappointment of the incumbent chairman of Hanjin Group as a board member, a day ahead of the holding firm’s shareholders meeting, amid an escalating family feud over control of the conglomerate.

The National Pension Service (NPS) said it would back Hanjin Group Chairman Cho Won-tae as a board member of Hanjin KAL Corp., the holding company of the logistics-centered business group.

The NPS holds a 2.9 percent stake in Hanjin KAL.

The family feud broke out in December when Cho Hyun-ah lashed out at her younger brother for not heeding their father’s wishes in managing the group.

Won-tae took the helm of Hanjin Group and Korean Air in April 2019 after his father’s death.

Hyun-ah, the former vice president of South Korea’s top air carrier Korea Air Lines Co., has been at loggerheads with her brother and other family members over management of the conglomerate. She was involved in the infamous “nut rage” incident in 2014.

The heiress has teamed up with the Korea Corporate Governance Improvement (KCGI) and the midsized builder Bando Engineering & Construction Co. to win support at the shareholders meeting.

At least 40 percent of shareholders, including those holding a combined 10 percent stake in Delta Air Lines Inc., are believed to support the incumbent chairman.