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Korean Air parent shareholders join forces to oust management

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Key shareholders of Korean Air's parent company said in a statement on Friday that the airline and its parent group need professional executives, not current management.

[SEOUL] Three key shareholders of Korean Air's parent company joined forces to oust the airline's current management, saying on Friday the airline and its parent needed professional executives and they would work together in an upcoming shareholders' meeting.

The statement comes amid a family feud between the South Korean flag carrier's CEO and group chairman Cho Won-tae and his sister ahead of a shareholders meeting in March.

Mr Cho's sister, Heather Cho, a former Korean Air executive whose "nut rage" incident in 2014 made global headlines, has accused her brother of disobeying their late father's will for the family to work together for the management of the group.

Heather Cho, local activist fund KCGI and Bando Engineering & Construction, shareholders in Korean Air parent company Hanjin KAL, said in a joint statement the airline and parent Hanjin Group's "current management situation is a serious crisis and it cannot be improved by the current management", and professional managers must be introduced.

"To this end, we agreed to actively cooperate in activities for the growth and development of Hanjin Group, including exercising voting rights and putting forth proposals at the upcoming Hanjin KAL shareholders' meeting," they said.

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The recent public feud between the Cho siblings had generated speculation that Heather Cho may attempt to unseat his 44-year-old brother, who became chairman of the conglomerate controlled by Hanjin KAL after his father's death last year.

Cho Won-tae's seat on the board of Hanjin KAL, which owns about 30 per cent stake in Korean Air, is set to renewed by shareholder vote in March as a three-year term expires. Both siblings have about 6.5 per cent stakes respectively in the holding company.

South Korean media have reported that Walter Cho has consulted with Delta Air Lines, which owns a 10 per cent stake in the holding company.

KCGI, Bando and Heather Cho together have about a 32 per cent stake in Hanjin KAL.

Korean Air did not have an immediate comment.

REUTERS

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