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Biz Lobbying Head Resigns Over Declining Health

Posted July. 07, 2010 11:23,   


Federation of Korean Industries Chairman Cho Suck-rae has offered to resign over declining health, a source at the country’s largest business lobbying organization said Wednesday.

"Chairman Cho underwent surgery to remove a tumor from his gallbladder and judged that he cannot serve out his term," the source said.

Cho, 75, was quoted as saying in a letter to federation members, “I’ve been trying my best to fulfill my role representing the business circle, but I regret I cannot serve out my term because of health reasons.”

Concurrently the chairman of the Hyosung Group, a mid-size family-run conglomerate, Cho was appointed the federation’s 31st chairman in March 2007 and re-elected to a second two-year term last year. His current term was to expire in February next year.

Speculation, however, is growing that his resignation is due to a criminal investigation into the group’s alleged creation of slush funds overseas. Cho Hyun-jun, Cho Suck-rae’s eldest son and the CEO of the group, and Cho Hyun-sang, the third son and an executive director of Hyosung, are known to have purchased real estate overseas through illegal means.

A Hyosung Group source denied the speculation, saying, “Chairman Cho’s resignation and the investigation are two different matters. He offered to resign because the doctor recommended that he take time off to recovery from surgery.”

Cho Suck-rae is nicknamed “iron man” for maintaining physical health despite his frequent business trips abroad. Compelling matters such as Korea’s pending free trade agreements with the U.S. and the European Union forced him to take 30 trips overseas in just four months, a federation source said.

The business lobbying body will soon convene a board meeting on electing a new head.