The Taiwan government nominated a man who lasted only two months at the helm of the nation's biggest power company to replace the ousted chairman of state-run China Steel Corp (
Lin Wen-yuan (
It's unclear what the government hopes to achieve with the reshuffle. Analysts and steel workers are questioning Lin's appointment because he has no experience in the steel industry.
Also, Lin was forced to resign from Taipower in May after only 69 days as president because of a bungled power-rationing program earlier this year that affected hundreds of high-tech companies.
Since July, he's been chairman of Taiwan Cogeneration Corp (
"He will not be as good in promoting the company because he lacks a strong background in the industry," said Simon Chao, who helps manage NT$700 million (US$20 million) in equities at President Investment Trust Corp. "Kuo knows the industry well and is regarded as a strong figure by peers."
Economics Minister Lin Yi-fu (
The stock has fallen 1.5 percent since Kuo's ouster was first reported on Dec. 16.
Taiwan media have said Kuo is being removed because he failed to help boost ruling-party support in mayoral elections in Kaohsiung, where China Steel is based and employs 8,700.
His successor is a party loyalist. Lin took charge of the NT$1 billion budget for the campaign that helped Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) win the presidency in 2000. He had left the Taipei Water Department at the end of 1998 after the Nationalist Party's Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) beat Chen to become the capital's mayor.
Lin was vice chairman of the Commission of National Corporations before being named head of Taiwan Power in March.
His appointment to the China Steel job comes a day after credit-rating company Standard & Poor's criticized Taiwan's government for political interference in business.
Kuo yesterday canceled a morning meeting with the media, where labor and management issues, and his own fall from grace, were on the agenda.
Lin will inherit a company that investors say has been run well and is recovering from a steel industry slump. China Steel said this week it expects 2003 profit to rise four-fifths, to NT$29.2 billion, because of a price increase that takes effect in the first quarter.
"China Steel should continue to do well since the industry is in a cyclical demand upturn," Chao said.
Kuo told TVBS cable news yesterday that he was preparing to accept his replacement, saying that he planned to "get some sleep and then go and find a new job."
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