Choi Won-seok, former chairman of Dong-A Group, who played a leading role in the ‘Libya Great Waterway Construction’, passed away on the 25th due to chronic illness. He died at the age of 80.
Former Chairman Choi, the son of Dong-A Group founder Choi Moon-joon, was born in Daejeon in 1943 and graduated from Georgetown University in the U.S. after attending Ewha Womans University High School and Hanyang University’s Department of Economics.
He took office as the president of Dong-A Concrete in 1966 when he was 23 years old, and then served as CEO of Dong-A Construction and Korea Express, the flagship companies of Dong-A Group, in his 30s. After working as president of Daejeon Munhwa Broadcasting, he was inaugurated as chairman of Dong-A Group in 1978. In 1983, when he was in his 40s, he gained great fame by supervising the construction of the Libyan Aqueduct, the world’s largest single civil engineering project of the 20th century. Because of this, Dong-A Group was once ranked 10th in the business world with 22 affiliates.
However, his life went downhill when the Seongsu Bridge, built by Dong-A Construction, collapsed in 1994. In particular, when he suffered a liquidity crisis due to the 1997 International Monetary Fund ( IMF ) foreign exchange crisis and problems with the construction of the Gimpo Landfill Site (currently Cheongna International City and Geomdan New Town), he resigned from the chairmanship in 1998. Dong-A Group eventually went bankrupt in 2001. Afterwards, some affiliates, including Dong-A Construction, were acquired by other companies, and former Chairman Choi served as chairman of the board of directors of the Gongsan Academy, a school corporation, and focused on operating Dong-A University of Media and Arts and Dong-A Meister High School.
Former Chairman Choi also ran for the Democratic Justice Party in the 1981 presidential election (2nd constituency in Jung-gu, Seoul) and was elected.
In June of this year, he appeared on MBC’s YouTube channel ‘Consumption the Money’ looking completely ill and revealed that he was suffering from terminal cancer. He recalled his past life and said, “I feel sorry (to the Donga Group employees),” and also expressed his regret over the group’s disbandment process.
He went through a life story as굿모닝토토 도메인 turbulent as the rise and fall of the company he led. He was married four times, but all were unsuccessful. His first wife is Shin Jeong-hyeon, Miss Korea Jin in 1964 and the eldest daughter of former National Assembly member Shin Do-hwan, and his second wife is veteran actress Kim Hye-jeong. The third wife is Bae In-soon, a singer of the group ‘Pulse Sisters’, and the fourth wife is Jang Eun-young, an announcer who was Miss Korea Sun in 1992. In particular, she made a big splash with former announcer Jang by overcoming the 27-year age gap and marrying him in 1999, but she divorced him in 2010.
He also showed great interest in the film industry. In early 2008, he entered the film industry by serving as the general director of the low-budget film ‘Goodbye Terrorists’. ‘Goodbye Terrorist’ is a 40-minute short film about the sad lives of migrant workers in Korea. It was directed by Hong Seung-hyeon, a first-class graduate of Dong-A Institute of Media and Arts, and most of the staff were graduates of the university.
Jeong Jin-sam, former president of Dong-A Construction, who was former Chairman Choi’s right-hand man when he was in charge of the construction of the Libyan waterway, also recently passed away, attracting attention. Figures who decorated a chapter of Korean construction history in the 20th century passed away side by side this month. Former CEO Jeong, who passed away on the 16th, worked as the president of Dong-A Construction from 1995 to 1998 and played a major role in winning the Libyan Waterway project in 1983. Former President Jeong served as the general manager of the Grand Canal Construction and the head of the Libyan headquarters, and even reached an agreement on the 3rd and 4th phase construction contracts in 1996. For this achievement, he received the Gold Tower Order of Industrial Service Merit in 1996.
Former Chairman Choi’s funeral is in room 30 of the funeral hall at Asan Hospital in Seoul, and his funeral is at 7 am on the 28th. His surviving family members include sons Choi Woo-jin, Choi Eun-hyuk (deceased), Choi Yong-hyuk, Choi Jae-hyuk, and daughters Choi Seon-hee and Choi Yoo-jeong.