Angela Chao

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Angela Chao
Born c. 1973
Syosset, New York, U.S.
Died 2024-02-11 (aged 50)
Johnson City, Texas, U.S.
Alma mater Harvard University (BA, MBA)
Occupation Businesswoman
Parents James S. C. Chao
Ruth Mulan Chu Chao
Relatives Elaine Chao (sister), Mitch McConnell (brother-in-law)

Angela Chao (1973 – February 11, 2024) was an American businesswoman and philanthropist who served as CEO of the Foremost Group.

Early life and education

Of Chinese American heritage, Chao was born in Syosset, New York, and grew up in Harrison, New York.[1] Her father was James S. C. Chao, who founded Foremost Group in 1964.[2] Her mother was Ruth Mulan Chu Chao.[3] She was the youngest of six sisters, one of whom is Elaine Chao.[4][5] Her parents were born in China, but fled to Taiwan in 1949 due to the Chinese Civil War. Her father came to the United States in 1958, while her mother and three oldest sisters moved to the United States in 1961.[1][3][6] At the age of nine, Chao began joining her father on ship visits, exploring the vessels from the inside out, including ballast tanks and cargo holds.[2][7]

Chao went to Harvard for her undergraduate degree, which she completed in three years, graduating with a degree in economics in 1994.[1] She went on to receive her MBA from Harvard Business School.[2]


Chao worked in mergers and acquisitions at Smith Barney, now a part of Morgan Stanley. She joined their family business Foremost Group in 1996,[1] where she succeeded her father as CEO in 2018.[2] Foremost Group operates a global fleet of bulk carriers. As CEO, she became interested in adding more environmentally sustainable vessels that can burn alternative fuels to the company's roster.[1]

At one point in her career, she was a member of the board of the Bank of China, a vice chair of the Council of China's Foreign Trade and a director of the China State Shipbuilding Corporation, a Chinese government-owned enterprise that makes ships for the Chinese military, Foremost Group and other customers.[1][8] She was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.[9]

Personal life and death

Chao married Bruce Wasserstein in January 2009[10] shortly before his death in October 2009. She married Jim Breyer in 2012.[1] A resident of Austin, Texas, her son with Breyer was three years old at the time of her death.[1] [2]

Angela Chao died on February 11, 2024, at the age of 50. According to the Blanco County sheriff, she died after her Tesla went into a pond on her private ranch (named JWCB Ranch, or JW Ranch for short), which is located at 101 Schneider Lane in Johnson City, about 40 miles west of Austin.[1][2][11][12][13][14] She was under water for over an hour as rescuers tried to reach her and extricate her from the submerged car. Upon her removal from the car, EMS workers delivered "advanced life support" for 43 minutes, but were unable to revive her.[15] As of February 2024, her death was under criminal investigation by the Blanco County Sheriff’s Office.[16][17]


Chao held multiple positions with various charities and business groups, including:[2]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 Bradsher, Keith; Forsythe, Michael (February 14, 2024). "Angela Chao, C.E.O. of Family's Big Shipping Company, Dies at 50". The New York Times. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Isidore, Chris (February 14, 2024). "Shipping CEO Angela Chao, sister of former Cabinet member Elaine Chao, dies in car crash". CNN Business. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Paid Notice: Deaths: Chao, Ruth Mulan Chu, The New York Times, August 8, 2007|
  4. "Angela Chao, shipping business CEO and Mitch McConnell's sister-in-law, dies in Texas". Austin, Texas. 2024-02-15. Archived from the original on 2024-02-21. Retrieved 2024-03-29. "Chao was the chair and CEO of her family's shipping business, the Foremost Group, and the president of her father's philanthropic organization, the Foremost Foundation." 
  5. "Angela Chao, shipping industry exec, died on Texas ranch after her car went into a pond, report says". ABC News (Johnson City, Texas). 2024-03-11. Archived from the original on 2024-03-12. "Chao was the youngest of six sisters to immigrant parents who moved to the U.S. from China in the late 1950s. Her eldest sibling, Elaine Chao, is married to McConnell and served as transportation secretary under President Donald Trump and labor secretary under President George W. Bush." 
  6. Mrs Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, The Foremost Foundation.
  7. Martin, Eric (May 24, 2018). "Angela Chao is putting family values Foremost" (in en). TradeWinds. 
  8. Mangan, Dan (February 16, 2024). "Foremost Group CEO Angela Chao died after car went into Texas pond, sheriff says" (in en). CNBC. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Hawkins, Lori (February 17, 2024). "Austinite Angela Chao, who died in a car crash, led an impressive professional career". 
  10. Vlamis, Kelsey; Snodgrass, Erin; Long, Katherine; Newsham, Jack (February 14, 2024). "Angela Chao, CEO of Foremost Group and wife of VC Jim Breyer, dies in a car crash at age 50" (in en-US). 
  11. Rogers, Chase; Tony Plohetski (February 21, 2024). "Blanco County officials not releasing records into Angela Chao's death investigation". 
  12. "CCP Police Searching 1.6 million Twitter users/ Angela Chao New Information/ Fake fishermen". 
  15. Tony Plohetski, Morgan McGrath, John Diaz (2024-03-04). "CEO Angela Chao's death deemed an 'unfortunate accident' amid report of criminal investigation". KVUE (Blanco, Texas). Retrieved 2024-03-07. "A recent report suggested Chao's death is now part of a criminal investigation after her body was recovered from a pond on a private ranch in Blanco County." 
  16. Mangan, Dan (2024-02-29). "Death of shipping CEO Angela Chao under 'criminal investigation,' Texas sheriff says" (in en).