Founder & CEO

Founding Chairman, Choong Hoon Cho

Founding Chairman Choong Hoon Cho is standing in front of the Korean Air’s 1st Boeing 747-400 aircraft

Born in 1920, the late Choong Hoon Cho founded Hanjin Transportation with a commitment to the "advancement of the Korean People." His dedication spanned over half a century pioneering his own path in the area of logistics.

Mr. Cho established the foundation of the Hanjin Group while doing business in Vietnam and went on to use his international business acumen to help revitalize the national economy.

Among the subsidiary companies founded by Choong Hoon Cho were Korean Air in 1969, Hanjin Shipping and Jungseok Enterprise in 1977. These served to help create a specialized, all-around logistics company over land, sea and air.

Through his work with Korean Air, he reaffirmed his promise of serving the national interest, opening the era of "the Wings of the People." Without his vision, creative management strategy and sense of duty for his country, Korean Air would not enjoy its place among the Top 10 airlines in the world today.

During his life, Mr. Cho chose to be a leader, forging his own path, not copying what others were doing. His firm belief in "Patriotism through Transportation" was the foundation of the growth of the Hanjin Group. Today, his attention to and focus on his industry has allowed the companies he founded to expand the reach of the Korean people across the globe. 

Mr. Cho understood that recognizing and developing talent was a cornerstone to company success and viewed it as the most meaningful purpose in life. Putting his beliefs into action, he took over Inha Institute in 1968 and established Jungseok Institute in 1979. To cultivate a pool of talented employees, he established the nation's first industrial college, Hanjin Industrial College (the current Jungseok College), providing an opportunity for higher education for those who could not previously afford to attend.

By putting national interest ahead of the company's income statement, the privatisation of Korean Air allowed for overseas route expansion. Navigating under difficult circumstances, Choong Hoon Cho contributed to the development of economic and foreign diplomacy by taking on a role as a civil diplomat. His achievements were rewarded with the highest Medal of Honor from Korea and recognition from other countries, including France, Belgium, Mongolia, the Netherlands and Germany.

Former Chairman, Yang Ho Cho

Chairman Yang-ho Cho is standing in front of an airplane undergoing maintenance at the KAL Tech Center

Yang Ho Cho was the former chairman of the Hanjin Group, a global transportation conglomerate in the aviation, maritime and ground transportation industries. Companies in the Hanjin Group include Korean Air, Hanjin Transportation as well as educational institutions and non-profit foundations.

Mr. Cho was named chairman and CEO of Korean Air in 1999. He began working for Korean Air as a manager in the Americas Regional Headquarters in 1974, and worked his way up the company’s administrative ranks.

In addition to his corporate responsibilities, Mr. Cho was vice chairman of the Federation of Korean Industries and co-chairman of the Korea-U.S. Business Council. He was also the co-chairman of the Korea-France High Level Businessmen’s Club and served as the co-president of l’Année France-Corée 2015-2016’, aimed at celebrating 130 years of diplomatic relations between Korea and France. He served on the Strategy Policy Committee and the Board of Governors at the International Air Transport Association.

Mr. Cho was the head of the PyeongChang 2018 Bid Committee, which was successful in winning the bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2018. He later served as the president and CEO of the PyeongChang 2018 Organizing Committee.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Inha University (Incheon, Korea), Mr. Cho received an M.B.A. from the University of Southern California (USC) and a doctorate from Inha University. He received honorary doctorate degrees from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (Florida) and the Ukraine National Aviation University. He was the Board of Trustees chair of the Inha-Jeongseok Foundation which includes Inha and Hankuk Aviation universities, and was also a Board of Trustee member at USC.

Mr. Cho’s leadership has been widely recognized over the years. He was awarded the title of `Grand Officier’ in France’s Légion d’Honneur, ‘Polaris’ in Mongolia and also the `Mugunghwa Medal’ in Korea – all of which are the highest order of civil merit awarded in these countries.