[FOCUS] The Man I Met; Chairman Cho Suck-rai ❻매거진/Webzine(English) 2017.12.22 09:43
As Long As You Live a Life That Contributes to the Prosperity of Our Country and Society, That's Enough
In life, we meet many people, but only a few remain cherished in our memories over the years: one such is Chairman Cho Suck-rai.
In February 1993, Chairman Cho was appointed chairman of the Korea Economic Research Institute, following SK Group chairman Choi Jonghyun. Having joined the institute three years earlier, I was fortunate for the next seven years to be able to work with Chairman Cho, who was always with me and helped me a lot both materially and spiritually.
When it comes to Chairman Cho, what occurs to me first is that he is always engaged in purposeful action, despite his tight schedule.
Looking back, Chairman Cho has always taken a keen interest in creating a better business environment and making his country better. He has always encouraged hard-working young people to be engaged at work.
The Center for Free Enterprise was spun off in September 1998. I led the founding of the center as its first president, but Chairman Cho helped me a lot. No matter what great ideas you have, creating a new organization represents a significant economic burden and risk. Nevertheless, I remain grateful for the way he encouraged me to help promote the market economy and contribute to elevating Korea.
When we were working on spinning off the center, I remember Chairman Cho contributed greatly to the center. I now realize that he was willing to make a contribution for the public interest because of the way he trusted people.
I left the organization after the Center for Free Enterprise spun off in January 2000. I felt sorry for the people that I worked with at that time, including Chairman Cho. I felt sorry for him for not being able to live up to his expectation.
Then, six or seven years passed. After working for a company for some years, I was pioneering another way by founding a research center. Then, one spring day in 2007, I received a message from an employee that Chairman Cho wanted to see me. It had been a long time since I heard from him so I called him immediately and then visited the head office of Hyosung. He suggested me to work with him but I could not accept the offer for personal reasons. When I said, “Chairman, I was very sorry at that time,” he said: “People can make mistakes. I have already forgotten it. As long as you live a life that contributes to the prosperity of our country and society, that's enough. You are doing well.”
People say time heals all wounds, but I was always sorry for him in the back of my mind. Yet, his warm words helped me and relieved me of the burden of guilt I had been carrying.
Written by Gong Byeong-ho