Evergreen's succession feud takes ugly turn

Evergreen's succession feud takes ugly turn

TAIPEI - The fortunes of Taiwan's family-operated Evergreen Group were in the spotlight when Chang Kuo-wei, heir apparent of the conglomerate and head of its airline division EVA Air, was ousted as chairman in an ad-hoc board of directors meeting on Friday.

He was replaced by Lin Pao-shui, chairman of Evergreen Steel Corp who headed the airline from 2005 to 2011.

Descendents from deceased Evergreen Group founder Chang Yung-fa's first marriage moved to oust Mr Chang by using representational power vested in the Chang Yung-Fa Foundation.

The airline's spokesman Nieh Kuo-wei was also replaced by Ko Chin-cheng, the conglomerate's representative to its China operations.

Mr Ko, perhaps not surprisingly, praised Mr Lin in a post-meeting press conference, saying that his experience helped the airline survive historically high oil prices, the financial crisis and post-Sept 11 aviation industry turbulence.

Following his replacement by Mr Lin, Mr Chang said he would "persevere to the very end".

His lawyer also released a statement which described the process of removing Mr Chang as "unlawful" while calling the move to prevent adherence to the Evergreen Group founder's final will "extremely regrettable".

The statement also indicated the board meeting process went against previous interpretations by the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

In accordance with Article 204 of the Company Act, notice of the subject of a board of directors meeting needs to be given no later than seven days prior to the scheduled meeting date.

The act, however, adds that "in the case of emergency, the meeting may be convened at any time".

An official of the MOEA later said the emergency condition used to convene the board meeting on Friday needed to be verified by a judge.

Mr Lin countered in a press conference by stating that the move to replace Mr Chang was legal, adding that he had obtained support from three independent directors.

Mr Lin said while Mr Chang was not present during the meeting, he was represented by a proxy.

With regard to whether the move violated the deceased tycoon's final will, Mr Lin said the matter must be solved by the family.

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