[FOCUS] Preferential Conscience and Academic Inquiry

2017.07.21 09:53

Every time I have the privilege to talk with Chairman CHO, I am amazed with his intelligence, knowledge, experience and insight, to the point where I firmly believe that if Chairman CHO didn’t become an entrepreneur, he would have defiantly became one of the most honorable academics of Korea. After graduating Waseda University in Japan, Chairman CHO earned his master’s degree at Illinois Institute of Technology in USA. I’ve always that that only if not Chairman CHO had to come back to Korea to fill his father’s shoes due to his illness, Chairman CHO would have finished his doctorate in USA and became a professor, and I wonder how he looks back at his early days.

Chairman CHO always treats everybody in a respectful manner, regardless of their title or age. Those who are close to him will not argue that Chairman CHO lives on the values of Honor and Morality. I presume this trait comes from his youth, growing up in an honorable household respected by the people in Haman, and embodying humbleness and modesty.

I have grown up learning stories of the history of Chairman CHO’s family and the Hyosung Group. We are distant relative sharing ancestors who had lived in the region of Goonbok-myeon, Haman-goon, and I was always proud of the Hyosung Group. My father was close with Chairman CHO’s father, and my uncle was very close with Chairman CHO’s uncle CHO Seungjae, the brother of the preceding chairman, and thus, I recall meeting Chairman CHO at my house as young men.

My relationship with Chairman CHO got closer since 1997, when he started to inquire about the global macroeconomic status, when I was teaching at Sogang University, and later asked me to become an external director of Hyosung. Chairman CHO enjoys dialogue with academics on international situations and economic policies, for me, it seems like he was seeking confirmation on his understandings. Chairman CHO always recognizes prepares changes yet to emerge, and rather giving him advice, I always learned more from him.

I believe that no other Korean entrepreneur has a better insight and outlook over international situations and the political, social and economic movements of USA and Japan than Chairman CHO. Furthermore, it would be difficult to find someone who has established a broad friendship with economic and political leaders in East Asia, and Europe. It seems that his academic inquiry, as vigorous as an academic professor, and broad friendship is the foundation of his second to none experience and knowledge.

After the outburst of financial crisis, like other general trading companies, Hyosung Trading also fell into financial difficulties, but I remember Chairman CHO running all over the market to survive the crisis. Eventually, to prevent transferring the burden to the people of Korea and to fulfill his entrepreneur obligations to the country and society, he decided to bear all debts of Hyosung Trading and integrated with Hyosung Corporation. His recent struggles due to such decision is only 

* This article will provide pieces from <The man I had met, S.R. Cho> in the upcoming issues. Professor CHO Yoon-je, from the Graduate School of International Studies, Sogang University is introduced in this issue.

Written by│ CHO Yoon-je Professor, Graduate School of International Studies, Sogang University.

1995, Vice President of Korea Institute of Public Finance. 1998, Advisory Professor of IBRD (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development). 2003~2004, Economic Adviser of the President, 2005~2007, Envoy Ambassador of Republic of Korea in the United Kingdoms. He is currently a professor at Graduate School of International Studies, Sogang University.

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