Pyeongchang chief resigns to focus on business

Tue May 3, 2016 10:45am EDT
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SEOUL (Reuters) - Cho Yang-ho has resigned as head of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics organizing committee (POCOG) in order to focus on his troubled Hanjin Shipping business, the body said on Tuesday.

Cho, the chairman of South Korean conglomerate Hanjin Group, had been at the helm of the organizing committee since August 2014 and was widely credited with bringing sponsors on board and giving stalled preparations for the Games a shot in the arm.

However, with Hanjin Shipping, South Korea's largest shipper by assets, facing severe financial difficulties, Cho needed to focus his efforts on restructuring and stabilizing the company, POCOG said in a statement.

Cho's departure leaves organizers scrambling to find a replacement just 646 days before the start of Asia's first Winter Olympics outside of Japan.

"For the past two years, I have truly put forward my very best efforts to work with every member of the organizing committee to prepare a successful Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2018," he said.

"I give my assurances that I will continue to support Pyeongchang through to the Games in 2018."

The International Olympic Committee said it respected his decision and noted the progress in preparations made since he took over two years ago.

"There remain a number of important steps to be taken ahead of the Games and the IOC remains confident that through our close cooperation with the Pyeongchang 2018 Organizing Committee these will be successfully addressed," it said in a statement.

"We look forward to Korea hosting excellent Olympic Winter Games in 2018."   Continued...

Cho Yang-ho (L), head of the organizing committee for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, shakes hands with U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn after a news conference in Seoul, May 6, 2015. Vonn was named honorary ambassador for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games. REUTERS/Thomas Peter