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Chung Ju Yung

Born: 25-Nov-1915
Birthplace: Tongchon, North Korea
Died: 21-Mar-2001
Location of death: Seoul, South Korea
Cause of death: Pneumonia
Remains: Buried, family plot, Hanam, South Korea

Gender: Male
Religion: See Note [1]
Race or Ethnicity: Asian
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business

Nationality: South Korea
Executive summary: Founder of Hyundai

Chung Ju Yung was the founder of the Hyundai chaebol (family-owned conglomerate), which began with the Hyundai Engineering & Construction Company in 1947. He had no formal education after grade school, when he ran away from home, taking the family cow for funds, and began working as a bicycle delivery boy in Seoul. Hyundai's first success was in construction, and the firm was heavily involved in rebuilding Korea following World War II, and the business was overseen by Chung until his death in 2001. Subsidiaries include Hyundai Motor Company (est. 1967, originally to build Fords), Hyundai Heavy Industries Company (1973), and Hyundai Electronics (1983). Chung was known for his temper, frequently throwing ash trays or books at underlings who displeased him, and for his tightfistedness -- even after becoming a multi-billionaire he lived in a small house built almost entirely with leftover materials from his construction firm. He fathered five children with his wife and four more with his mistresses.

In 1992 Chung founded his own political party and ran for President of South Korea, but garnered just 16% of the vote and lost to Kim Young Sam. After the election, an investigation revealed that Chung had diverted $81M in company funds to his campaign, and he was sentenced to three years in prison, but the term was suspended. In 1998 he made headlines by driving 500 head of cattle across the Demilitarized Zone as a gift for starving North Koreans. He was allowed to meet with the North's crazed dictator Kim Jong Il, and arranged a North-South summit meeting that took place in 2000.


[1] Confucianism.

Father: Chung Bong-Sik
Mother: Han Seong-Sil
Wife: Byun Joong Suk (m. 1930, d. 2007, nine children, including children by Chung's mistresses)
Son: Chung Mong Pil (d. 1982 auto accident)
Son: Chung Mong Woo (d. 1992 suicide)
Son: Chung Mong Koo (Hyundai executive)
Son: Chung Mong Hun (Hyundai executive)
Son: Chung Mong Joon

    Hyundai Founder and President (1947-73)
    Commander of the British Empire 1977
    Korean Ancestry


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