Why does Cho Won-tae, the tallest owner and manager in Korea, and the president of the Korea Volleyball Federation, devote his extraordinary passion to volleyball?

In the Dodram 2022-2023 V-League in early April, Korean Air and Expressway Corporation won the male and female champions. In particular, Korean Air achieved its first ‘treble’ by winning the regular league and championship match for three consecutive years. On the day Korean Air set a record, Hanjin Group Chairman Cho Won-tae and Korea Volleyball Federation (KOVO) president enjoyed joy with the players at the gym. As he was passionate about volleyball, he couldn’t help but feel rewarded.

In early March, about a month ago, 14 male and female clubs unanimously re-elected Cho as the 8th president for a three-year term. Cho, whose term of office is about to expire in June, will serve a third consecutive term. President Cho said, “I thank all the clubs for re-confidence, and I will try to develop the league more than I did in the last two terms.”

After taking office as president of Korean Air in 2017, he served as president of KOVO along with the inauguration of the owner of the Korean Air volleyball team. He put a lot of effort into making Korean Air the strongest team in the league with aggressive investments, and making professional volleyball the best indoor sport in winter, overtaking professional basketball. The fact that volleyball players entrusted him with the KOVO president for three years proves that the contribution he made during that time was so great.

He also served as the head of the Korea Professional Sports Association for a two-year term at the beginning of last year, and is evaluated for leading important roles well. In 2015, the Korea Professional Sports Association launched seven professional sports organizations (K League, KBO, KBL, WKBL, KOVO, KPGA, and KLPGA) as members. The Korea Professional Sports Association is carrying out hosting organization support projects such as performance evaluation, information and communication technology and data-based projects, fraud prevention and fairness reinforcement projects, professional sports manpower training, and players’ rights and interests improvement support projects.

Three generations of volleyball love

Korean Air and Inha University are very important volleyball teams in Korean volleyball history. The two teams operated by the Hanjin Group are prestigious teams that have produced many players who have made Korean volleyball shine. Korean Air boasts the second longest history after KEPCO. It is a historic club that has been going on ever since it was founded in 1969. Choi Jong-ok in the 1970s, Cha Ju-hyeon in the 1980s, Han Jang-seok, and Choi Cheon-shik, etc., produced the best national team in the past. Inha University, the same foundation as Korean Air, has also been reigning as the strongest team in college volleyball since the 1970s. Inha University, led by coach Choi Cheon-shik, who has always had success at Inha University and Korean Air, has produced many great players such as Kim Jong-min, who has been active in professional volleyball.

The protagonists who developed Korean Air and Inha University into the nation’s most prestigious volleyball team are the three generations of the Korean Air chairman’s family, represented by Chairman Cho Won-tae. Following grandfather Cho Jung-hoon (1920-2002) and father Cho Yang-ho (1949-2019), Chairman Cho Won-tae is directly related to the two teams. Former Chairman Joong-Hoon Cho, the founder of Korean Air, not only developed the company into Korea’s representative airline, but also contributed to the development of sports by founding volleyball and table tennis teams. Former Chairman Cho Yang-ho developed the company into a world-class airline by demonstrating his outstanding managerial skills, following the will of former Chairman Joong-Hoon Cho, and actively sponsored volleyball and table tennis teams. Former chairman Cho Yang-ho, who was deeply involved in fostering Korean sports, also served as the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics bid chairman and organizing committee chairman.

Chairman Cho Won-tae, who became chairman of the Hanjin Group as a third-generation owner due to the sudden death of former chairman Yang-ho Cho, normalized the management of Korean Air, which is struggling with Corona 19, and focused on stably leading the integration of Korean Air and Asiana Airlines, He devoted extraordinary efforts to fostering Korean Air and Inha University volleyball teams, which were cherished by his father and father.

KOVO President’s achievements

Korean professional volleyball has shown rapid growth since Chairman Cho Won-tae’s inauguration as KOVO president in 2017. It is noticeable first of all that the TV broadcast rights fee has risen significantly. In 2021, President Cho signed an unprecedented broadcast rights contract with KBS N, the host broadcasting company. From the 2016-17 season to the 2020-21 season, they signed a contract for 20 billion won and an annual average of 4 billion won for 5 years, but with a new contract of 30 billion won for 6 years, the annual average amount increased to 5 billion won. In fact, it was like hitting the jackpot. At the time, President Cho never lost his encouragement to the KOVO officials, saying, “You did a great job.” This is because the amount of broadcasting rights and conditions have produced satisfactory results.

For Cho, who was in charge of the CEO of Korean Air, 30 billion won at the time might not have been a large amount of money. However, from KOVO’s point of view, 30 billion won was as symbolic as the amount. It was because it was evidence that professional volleyball was growing qualitatively and quantitatively.
Compared to 300 million won at the time of the birth of professional volleyball in 2005, it has risen more than 13 times in 10 years. Professional volleyball, which was launched the latest among the four major domestic professional sports, was once ranked at the bottom in terms of market size and viewership ratings. However, tangible results gradually appeared and a reversal took place from the 2012-2013 season. It recorded cable TV viewership ratings that exceeded the ‘1% level of demons’. In addition, it gained great popularity while maintaining the 0.8-0.9% range per game. Broadcasting rights for the 2012-2013 season were 3.1 billion won. From the 2013-2014 season, he succeeded in signing a 3-year contract for the first time with KBSN. Broadcasting rights fees also exceeded 10 billion won in total. It wasn’t a huge increase, but it was enough to represent the soaring popularity. The fact that the ransom, which is evaluated as a broadcast right, exceeded 10 billion won, passed 20 billion won, and then reached 30 billion won, which was a barometer showing the development of professional volleyball.

It is said that President Cho played a big role in the establishment of the 2021 women’s professional volleyball Pepper Savings Bank volleyball team. This is because the environment and conditions for new teams to participate are well prepared. The Pepper Savings Bank team was able to start abruptly, enjoying favorable conditions for recruiting a large number of new players. Professional volleyball has expanded from a total of 9 teams at the beginning of its launch to a total of 14 teams with the establishment of Pepper Savings Bank. With the influx of foreign strikers with world-class skills, professional volleyball has secured its own competitiveness in professional sports and has been able to steadily rise in popularity.
It is evaluated by professional volleyball officials that President Cho’s interest and support for volleyball also played a big role in broadening the base of the current professional volleyball. He even memorizes the names of most professional volleyball players, and he is said to be making efforts to actively communicate by attending board meetings and handling pending issues unless there is something special. President Cho, who is 193 cm tall and is as tall as most volleyball players, is a message that he does not lose sight of KOVO officials with his wide tolerance.

Chairman Cho Won-tae, the tallest owner in Korea,

made a surprise appearance as a cover model in a volleyball magazine in August 2017. Although the affiliate has a professional volleyball team, it was very unusual for the president of the volleyball federation to be featured on the cover of a magazine. It showed that he had a special passion for volleyball. After he became the volleyball president, he said that his interest in and affection for volleyball grew to such an extent that he started searching for volleyball-related news. 스포츠토토

One of his characteristics is his tall stature. Extraordinary height appears to be a genetic factor. Most of Hanjin’s owner’s family are tall. Chairman Cho’s father, former chairman Cho Yang-ho, is 183 cm tall, and his mother, Lee Myeong-hee, former chairman of the Ilwoo Foundation, is also 163 cm tall, which is quite tall compared to other women of the same age. His older sister Cho Hyun-ah, former vice president of Korean Air, and younger brother Cho Hyun-min, executive director of Hanjin Kal, are also known to be 173cm and 175cm, respectively.

Cho was born in Seoul on December 25, 1975 by the lunar calendar, as the eldest son of former chairman Cho Yang-ho. He graduated from Marian High School and Inha University, Department of Business Administration, and received a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California, USA. After joining Hanjin Information and Communications, he moved to Korean Air and was promoted super-fast to vice president after 10 years at the company. When he was appointed as the CEO of Uniconverse, an information technology (IT) affiliate of the Hanjin Group, he stepped into the front line of management. Since taking over as chairman of Hanjin Group, he has made efforts to change Korean Air’s traditional organizational culture into a young and innovative one. In particular, in the face of the Corona 19 incident, he was praised for taking off his authoritative owner image and blowing a new wind into the Hanjin Group. As tall as he is, he is always full of confidence and has a very strong drive. He exhibits an active management style and is known for his extensive IT knowledge.

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