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Shipping CEO Angela Chao, sister of former Cabinet member Elaine Chao, dies in car crash

By Chris Isidore, CNN

New York (CNN) — Angela Chao, CEO of the shipping company the Foremost Group and sister of former US cabinet secretary Elaine Chao, was killed in a car crash in Texas on Sunday, according to a spokesperson for her company.

Angela Chao, 50, had been CEO of the shipping company since 2018, assuming the role from her father, James S.C. Chao, who had founded it in 1964. Her father will reassume the role as chairman of the company, and another executive, Michael Lee, will assume the role as president of Foremost, according to the company statement.

She graduated magna cum laude in three years from Harvard with a degree in economics, and then received her MBA from Harvard, according to a company biography. Before joining the family business she worked in mergers and acquisitions at Smith Barney, now a part of Morgan Stanley.

“Angela Chao was a formidable executive and shipping industry leader, as well as a proud and loving daughter, sister, aunt, wife and mother. She was also a precocious youngster, learning about the shipping industry at an early age,” said the companies’ statement.

An article about her in the trade publication TradeWinds said that when she was 9 years old, she began joining her father on ship visits, exploring the vessels from the inside out, including ballast tanks and cargo holds.

Chao lived in Austin, Texas, and was active in various charitable and business groups, including the American Bureau of Shipping Council, Harvard Business School’s Board of Dean’s Advisors, the Metropolitan Opera as well as the Chairman’s Council of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Founding Board Council of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles as well as the Boards of the Shanghai Mulan Education Foundation. She was also a founding member of the Asian American Foundation.

“Angela has left an indelible mark on The Asian American Foundation and the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders community,” said a statement from that group. “A brilliant and committed leader, Angela’s warmth, kindness, and infectious energy will live on in our work for decades to come.”

She was one of five sisters of Elaine Chao, who served as labor secretary under Presisdent George W. Bush and transportation secretary under President Donald Trump. Elaine Chao is the wife of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

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