Angela Chao, shipping CEO and sister-in-law of Mitch McConnell, dies

 February 14, 2024

Angela Chao, the CEO of prominent shipping company Foremost Group, has died in a car accident. She was 50.

Chao is the sister-in-law of Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who has been married to Angela's sister Elaine Chao for over 30 years.

Angela Chao ran the shipping company founded by her millionaire father, James Chao.

McConnell's sister-in-law dies

James Chao shared a heartbreaking statement on the sudden death of his youngest daughter.

“As a daughter, sister, mother, aunt, wife and friend, she was unfailingly filial, thoughtful, kind and devoted,” James Chao said.

“She kept us laughing and smiling. She believed deeply that the true treasures in life are family, friends and helping others. Losing her at such a young age is something we never even imagined, and our entire family is devastated with grief.”

Foremost was founded in New York in 1964 by James Chao and his wife Ruth Mulan Chu Chao.

The couple started a family in Taiwan in the shadow of the Chinese Civil War, and eventually immigrated to the United States, where three of their six daughters were born including Angela.

James Chao described his youngest daughter as a precocious and curious child who was interested in shipping from a young age.

“[She] was a wonderful and inquisitive companion accompanying me to the office on ‘Take Your Daughter to Work’ days,” her father said.

Angela Chao was educated at Harvard College and Harvard Business School, and later worked in mergers and acquisitions for Smith Barney, now known as Morgan Stanley, before joining her father's company in 1996.

Industry leader, mother

In 2018, she was named CEO of the company, which called Chao a "formidable executive and shipping industry leader, as well as a proud and loving daughter, sister, aunt, wife and mother."

"She placed special emphasis on paying attention to the care and well-being of our crews, and to everyone onboard and onshore who played a role in performing our services. As a result, her leadership in the shipping industry was widely recognized."

Angela Chao had positions on the boards of influential organizations including Bank of China, Harvard Business School, the Metropolitan Opera, and The Asian American Foundation. She was married to Jim Breyer, a billionaire venture capitalist.

Angela Chao's older sister Elaine Chao served in the Cabinet twice, as Labor Secretary under President George W. Bush and later as Transportation Secretary for President Trump.

Their mother, Ruth, died in 2007 from cancer. Angela Chao is survived by her father and her five sisters.

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