Legislators slam China Steel’s new chairman

By Ruby Ying, The China Post

Lin Wen-yuan, Vice Chairman of the Commission of National Corporations (CNC) yesterday confirmed that Kuo Yen-tu, former general manager of Yieh Loong steel company, would become the next chairman of China Steel Corporation.

The high-profile appointment of the China Steel chairman stirred up radical criticism from lawmakers, who accused high-ranking official within the presidential office of masterminding this political appointment. According to KMT lawmaker Lee Cheng-tsong, a heavyweight from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party intended to make use of China Steel solid assets by naming Kuo Yen-tu, who was a major fund contributor to President Chen’s election campaign, chairman of the company. Lee implied that this political heavyweight holds an important position in the presidential office and has strong business and political connections in Kaohsiung. Lee stressed that in addition to Kuo and the conglomerate that his family controls, two other business groups based in Kaohsiung were also vying to control China Steel. This explained why the incumbent chairman Wang Chung-yu has to go despite his achievements and management expertise, said Lee. Though Premier Chang Chun-hsiung said that the board of directors of China Steel will elect itself the company’s chairman on Thursday, Vice Chairman Lin Wen-Yuan of the Commission of National Corporations yesterday confirmed that the Cabinet has decided to have Kuo succeed Wang as China Steel’s new chairman.

Lin also said that he asked Wang to remain at China Steel to serve as the company’s director and honorary adviser, positions which Wang has agreed to take.