Exec quits after ramen rage

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Exec quits after ramen rage

A Posco Energy executive, who reportedly smacked a Korean Air Lines (KAL) flight attendant with a magazine because he was unhappy with his in-flight ramen, resigned from his position.

The company publicly apologized on Monday and tried to recover its damaged public image.

“The company and the executive are ready to visit the flight attendant and the airline to ask forgiveness,” his company said on its Web site. “We are deeply sorry that the incident happened and will further put our best efforts toward employees’ ethics education.”

According to local media reports, the former senior vice president from Posco Energy, identified by his surname Wang, reportedly harassed a female KAL flight attendant while flying to the United States over the weekend.

After the incident was reported online through social networking sites, netizens rushed to criticize the executive and the company, even making fun of the incident by releasing parody photos.

Industry insiders said the incident hurt Posco’s public image. Although the steel maker is a B2B company and the incident is related to an affiliate, its public image has still been tarnished as consumers connect the word “Posco” to the incident.

It not only hurts Posco, but also KAL, as the company is in an awkward position. The nation’s largest carrier said neither the company nor the flight attendant is planning on filing a lawsuit against the executive.

“Honestly, we didn’t know the issue would become this big, but since it isn’t good news, we are not happy to be involved in this incident,” an official from KAL said. “I think many people will now realize that being a flight attendant is a tough job.”

Other companies peripherally related to the incident are also not happy to be mentioned when the issue is discussed in public.

An industry official said that Nongshim, the instant noodle company that the executive started the fight over, is complaining about the use of its product in the online parodies.

By Joo Kyung-don [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]
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