Tour agency chairman donates third of sharesThe owner of a large tour agency has given more than 10 billion won ($10.4 million) worth of equities to universities and museums.
“Rather than holding onto my wealth, sharing it makes my life richer and happier,” said Chun Shin-il, 63, the chairman of Sejoong Namo Tour. “I had this idea for a long time and I just took action. I am grateful to my family for understanding my decision.”
Mr. Chun donated 1.1 million of his company’s shares to Korea and Yonsei Universities. They were worth 10.7 billion won according to the closing price as of Oct. 16, and accounted for one-third of his ownership.
Sejoong Namo Tour only listed on the Kosdaq market in July.
Mr. Chun signed a memorandum for the donation during a concert to commemorate the opening of the Sejoong Traditional Stone Museum in Yongin, Gyeonggi province, on Oct. 15.
Mr. Chun contributed 260,000 shares to Korea University, his alma mater; 100,000 shares to Yonsei University; 900,000 shares to Pohang University of Science and Technology; 45,000 shares to the National Museum of Korea; 30,000 shares to the National Folk Museum of Korea; 40,000 shares to a youth wrestling foundation; 500,000 shares to the Sejoong Cultural Foundation; and 40,000 shares to a youth international summer village association. The shares cannot be cashed in until July of next year.
In a family meeting in July, Mr. Chun said he told his family, “I want to do a good deed and please accept it.” He said his wife and three children took his decision very well.
Mr. Chun majored in political science and international relations at Korea University and founded a company called Iron Manufacturing and Chemical, which he later sold to Daewoo Corp. In 1982, he founded the Sejoong Namo Tour agency and since then, the company has always recorded an annual profit.
Mr. Chun said he owed much of his success to two people and that was part of his reason for making the donations.
Former Posco chairman Park Tae-joon helped Mr. Chun when he was operating Iron Manufacturing and Chemical and Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun-hee assisted him in running his tour agency.
In 1982, Mr. Chun donated 20 hectares (51 acres) of land to Pohang University of Science and Technology.
In 1996, he took over the chairmanship of the Korean Wrestling Federation from Mr. Lee and in 2000, he opened the Sejoong Traditional Stone Museum and donated 180 artifacts from his personal collection.
“As the biggest shareholder, I will use two thirds of the company’s earnings for shareholders and employees and donate a considerable amount of the rest of the retained earnings to society,” Mr. Chun said.
by Lee Jae-hoon