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Tantrums and Tellings-Off at Korea’s Chaebol

Pressure is mounting and Hyundai Motor Group is next in line.

SKOREA-AVIATION-KAL-TRIAL

Photographer: Jung Yeon-Je/Getty Images

What does it take to engender change atop South Korea’s chaebol? Not vulture-like activists, it seems, but temper tantrums over macadamia nuts and water throwing.

Until recently, the nation’s conglomerates, characterized by complex webs of family cross-shareholdings, had managed to shake off criticisms around corporate-governance lapses. But on Sunday, Cho Yang-ho, chairman of Hanjin Group’s Korean Air Lines Co., fired one of his daughters after allegations she threw water in the face of an advertising agency worker during a business meeting, and her sister for good measure after she spent five months in jail following the so-called nut rage incident.