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Vote against Korean Air chairman jolts chaebol status quo

Public pension fund proved pivotal in kicking boss off board

Korean Air Lines Chairman Cho Yang-ho  is seen here attending court in 2018 when he was indicted for embezzling corporate funds.   © Reuters

SEOUL -- The crucial vote Wednesday by South Korea's National Pension Service to remove the head of Korean Air Lines from the boardroom signals that the country's largest institutional investor has turned against the country's sprawling family-run conglomerates, or chaebol.

The vote has likely made Chairman Cho Yang-ho, who is also the boss of Korean Air parent Hanjin Group, the first chaebol chief to lose a board seat at an affiliate in an investor vote. He will stay on as chairman of Korean Air, a role with no involvement on the board.

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