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POSCO dismisses exec over ramen rage

The nation’s leading steelmaker POSCO dismissed on Monday an executive of its power generation subsidiary POSCO Energy, who reportedly physically and verbally abused a female flight attendant.

“The corresponding official has been dismissed from his current post and other follow-up measures will be implemented,” said a POSCO official.

The disputed man, identified by his family name Wang, is known to be an executive director in the renewable energy sector of the POSCO subsidiary.

The executive was recently denied entry into the United States after being accused of hitting a Korean Air flight attendant with a magazine, citing poor service, airline industry sources said Sunday.

He claimed that the in-flight meals tasted bad and that ramen he ordered as a substitute was not properly cooked.

Amid growing public outrage, the company made an official apology on its website and blog, pledging to thoroughly investigate the case and to take stern measures as soon as possible.

It also organized an emergency audit committee and summoned the man for in-person questioning, company officials said.

Parent company POSCO, too, offered an apology online on behalf of the entire conglomerate.

The public sentiment nevertheless worsened, especially as POSCO has always stressed the importance of ethical management and human-focused growth.

Controversy also arose over an air log, a chronological record of events allegedly written by one of the attendants on the flight.

According to the file, which quickly spread through social networking sites, the man not only hit the attendant but used insulting and intimidating words all throughout the flight.

Korean Air refrained from commenting on the log, claiming that its source was unidentified, but hinted that the content was all true.

While the alleged troublemaker is expected to face severe penalties, including possible dismissal, the coming legal process remains uncertain.

Those who create a disturbance onboard a plane may be punished with a maximum fine of 5 million won ($4,500), according to the law.

“We will take the case to the investigative authorities, should the flight attendant make the request,” said an official of the airline company.

By Bae Hyun-jung