SEOUL, South Korea – The South Korean businessman who led Pyeongchang’s successful bid for the Winter Olympics is set to return as head of the organizing committee for the 2018 Games.
Cho Yang-ho, chairman of Korean conglomerate Hanjin Group, said in a statement released by the company that he has accepted the position made vacant by the surprise resignation last week of Kim Jin-sun.
The new chairman needs to be officially approved at a meeting of Pyeongchang’s local organizing committee on Friday. Cho’s election is considered a formality.
“Now that I’ve agreed to take on the job as the chief organizer, I will dedicate myself to ensure a successful Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, relying on my experience as the top bid official,” the 65-year-old Cho was quoted as saying by Korean media.
“Many people in and outside Korea recommended that I take this position and I also wanted to keep the promise I’d made with the International Olympic Committee to work for a successful Olympics here.”
Cho, who heads Korean Air, was head of the bid committee when Pyeongchang was awarded the games by the IOC in 2011. He is a vice-president of the Korean Olympic Committee and has been president of the Korea Table Tennis Association since 2008 and vice-president of the Asian Table Tennis Union since 2009.
Kim cited a need for new leadership when he unexpectedly resigned on July 21. Kim Jung-haeng is serving as interim chief organizer until the new president is formally elected.
Kim’s departure came amid an audit into the organizing committee and concerns about the pace of construction and signing up of domestic sponsors.
The Seoul-based Board of Audit and Inspection confirmed last week it has been investigating financing and management of the organizing committee.
The results of the investigation, which began in late May and ended on July 11, are expected in three months.
The IOC said last week it has “full confidence” in the organizing committee.