Fri, Jul 07, 2000 - Page 17 News List

New CAL leadership appointed

By Cybil Chou  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tsung Tsai-yi, a consultant for the Kaoshiung City Government's Mass Transit System Project, was chosen by the China Airlines board to take over the helm as president.

PHOTO: CHEN CHENG-CHANG, TAIPEI TIMES.

China Airlines (CAL, 中華航空公司) yesterday announced that it was reshuffling two top management positions to better focus on safety concerns, but the appointments were met by protests by employees of the company.

Lee Yun-ling (李雲寧), chairman and CEO of domestic carrier Far Eastern Air Transport Corp (遠東航空公司), was named chairman of the board while Christine Tsung Tsai-yi, (宗才怡), a Mass Transit System Project consultant for the Kaohsiung City Government, will be the airline's president.

The appointments were made following China Aviation Development Foundation's (CADF, 中華航空事業發展基金會) announcement on Tuesday that a reshuffle would be made. The CADF owns 71 percent of CAL.

Voicing opposition to CAL's new management and policies, employees of the state-run airlines yesterday chanted slogans as the old and new corporate brass walked outside to announce the changes.

Chanting "we oppose industry outsiders leading industry professionals" and "we oppose non-transparent management procedures," dozens of CAL employees crowded the lobby of the company's headquarters.

Lee, the new chairman of the board, was a former air force pilot and 23-year veteran of CAL. He joined the company in 1970 as a co-pilot and worked his way up to chief of the flight training center before being transferred to CAL's Far Eastern subsidiary in 1993.

Tsung, 52, has an MBA from the University of Missouri and a 13-year career in the US, including work as the finance director of Powey City near San Diego, California.

Tsung denied media speculation that her nomination -- while lacking any solid aviation industry experience -- was the result of her political affiliation with leaders of the ruling DPP. She defended her qualifications by saying that the "CADF choose me for my solid management and experience in finance."

Commenting at a press conference after the announcement, both of the new leaders addressed the issue on everyone's mind -- safety. CAL has been dogged by safety issues, including an Airbus A300 crash at Taiwan's main international airport two years ago that killed all 203 people on board.

Last August, three people were killed when a China Airlines MD-11 jet flipped upside down and burst into flames at Hong Kong's international airport while attempting to land during a tropical storm.

"I will propose concrete management strategies and measures for improving CAL's safety record one month after I assume this post," Lee said.

Meanwhile, Tsung vowed to "improve the company's unsatisfactory safety record" and make the company an "internationally recognized carrier."

Recent efforts to improve the flight safety standards of the company have included hiring Germany's Lufthansa Technik AG -- a subsidiary of Lufthansa German Airlines -- to train its pilots and engineers in higher safety standards.

Meanwhile, outgoing president, Sandy K.Y. Liu (劉克涯), was appointed chairman of Taiwan Aircargo Terminal Ltd (華儲股份有限公司), a subsidiary of CAL. Former chairman Chiang Hung-I (蔣洪彝) is slated to remain a member of the board, according to company officials.

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