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Korean Air chairman's death creates leadership vacuum at Hanjin

Activist fund seeks to pry control from founding family's hands

Cho Won-tae, president of Korean Air Lines, is next in line to take over Hanjin Group, but activist investors are trying to stop the tradition of hereditary leadership.   © Reuters

SEOUL -- The sudden death of Chairman Cho Yang-ho Sunday has left South Korea's Hanjin Group without a leader, with his eldest son's succession far from certain as an activist shareholder presses the scandal-ridden conglomerate to end family management.

The group owns Korean Air Lines and other transport companies through holding company Hanjin KAL. It is infamous, however, for 2014's "nut rage" incident, in which Cho's eldest daughter forced a plane back to the gate after becoming upset at how she was served macadamia nuts. The chairman himself was accused of embezzlement last year.

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