Taiwan's EasyCard company co-chairman demoted

Taiwan's EasyCard company co-chairman demoted
Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je speaks to reporters before entering the city council to make an administrative report.
PHOTO: Reuters

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je demoted EasyCard Corp. co-Chairman Tai Chi-chuan to the position of general manager yesterday in response to the recent outcry over a Japanese porn star's image appearing on limited-edition card covers.

Ko, who is himself facing growing political pressure over the handling of the Hatano-gate debacle, announced the personnel change before he entered the Taipei City Council to make a scheduled administrative report.

The mayor stated in a press release that "errors had to be rectified," and that his recommendation to demote Tai (a key Ko advisor during his mayoral campaign) would be brought up during EasyCard's next shareholder meeting at the end of September. He added that he hoped the demotion would allow the future operations of the company to proceed more smoothly and end the controversy, which has "cost too much in public resources."

Lin to Take Over Company Reigns

In a statement released after Ko's decision, EasyCard said that it "respected" the mayor's decision and again issued an apology for the card cover controversy. Tai's successor will be another co-chairman, Kenneth Lin.

Lin said yesterday that he had already met with Ko and both had discussed the Hatano controversy's effect on the company's reputation. He added that an evaluation on the matter would be issued by the company itself. Earlier, Ko had ordered Tai to submit an evaluation to him.

Speaking of Tai's role in the brouhaha, Lin stated that the former co-chairman's abilities in management style and marketing were not at fault, but that he had not adequately considered the public nature of the company's structure. EasyCard Corp. is not wholly private, as the municipal government owns a 40-per cent stake in it. Mayor Ko was criticised initially last month for not stepping in to stop the sales of the card covers even though he represented the company's largest shareholder.

When asked by reporters what he thought regarding Tai's suitability as the company's general manager, Lin replied that Tai deserves a chance.

"His abilities in some areas are not below my own, and I think the public should give him a chance, as fostering young talent is not easy," Lin said.

Lin said that matters concerning Tai's new salary level are not something to be decided by the company's board, but also had to be in line with company regulations.

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