Government planning to replace CADF chairman

Alfred Lee, The China Post

The chairman of the China Aviation Development Foundation (CADF), the largest share holder of China Airlines, is expected to be replaced in the near future as a move to pave the way for the year-end elections, according to local press reports. The CADF, which owns 72 percent of China Airlines, is said to control huge assets. Before the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) became the ruling party, the CADF was controlled by the previous KMT government.

Many local industry leaders fear that the huge resources controlled by CADF will be used during the year-end elections in the DPP’s favor. Although the current chairman of the CADF, Chang Chung-yen, who also serves as the president of National Chiao Tung University, has reportedly enjoyed a good relationship with the DPP, top DPP officials are allegedly making arrangements for Tsai Jaw-yang, a presidential adviser to take over Chang’s position on the grounds that Tsai maintains a better relationship with senior DPP officials. According to the charter bylaws of the CADF, the tenure of the CADF’s chairman is three years. Chang took up the position of chairman only last June after the DPP came to power, and has only served just over one third of his term. As a result, since talk of his removal has been circulating, tensions have emerged between Chang and Tsai.

Though the board originally planned to hold its quarterly board meeting about a week ago, Chang did not show up and the meeting was canceled. Since the DPP is pressured by the year-end elections and plans to make the new appointment as soon as possible, it was reported that President Chen Shui-bian met with Chang earlier this week and asked him to leave his position for someone who is from former President Lee Teng-hui’s camp.

After Chang leaves the chairman’s position, it was reported that the top management of China Airlines would be reshuffled. The reshuffle signifies a further expansion of DPP influence and control over China Airlines. Last June all of the board of directors of the CADF were replaced in the DPP’s favor.

The replacement of the chairman follows a series of changes of political appointees recently including the chairmen and other key individuals at China Steel Corp., China Development Industrial Bank and the Taiwan Stock Exchange.