Tue, Nov 23, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Wu family ends chairmanship feud

AGREEMENT A battle between brothers Eric and Thomas Wu for control of Shinkong Synthetic Fibers has been resolved and Eric Wu will head the company

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The more than three-month-long family tussle within the Shinkong Group (新光集團) for control of unit Shinkong Synthetic Fibers Corp (新光人纖) concluded yesterday with a happy ending.

Thomas Wu (吳東亮) finally agreed to his mother Wu Kuei-lan's (吳桂蘭) arrangements and relinquish the fiber polyester company's chairmanship to his younger brother Eric Wu (吳東昇).

In return, Thomas Wu received his family's support in an upcoming leadership reshuffle at Taishin Financial Holding Co (台新金控), the siblings' lawyers told reporters yesterday.

"[The family has agreed] to end their disagreements in a conciliatory way ... to safeguard investors' rights," said Alex Tsai (蔡欽源), a lawyer representing Eric Wu.

Tsai said Thomas and Eric Wu met and inked the written agreement in the presence of lawyers last Friday.

"The Wus express hope that investors will continue to support their respective businesses -- Shinkong Synthetic Fibers and Taishin Financial," the statement read.

Following the signing of the agreement, lawyer Lindy Chern (陳玲玉), who represents Thomas Wu, yesterday added that the brothers will immediately withdraw previous lawsuits and hand in the proxy votes each has received so far, which were solicited to secure the chairmanship of the financial-service company and the fiber maker.

Taishin Financial is slated to reshuffle its board on Dec. 3 while Shinkong Synthetic Fibers is scheduled to elect Eric Wu as its chairman in its board meeting on Dec. 20, Chern said.

Eric Wu, moreover, will resign from his position as vice chairman at Taishin Financial while "promising to respect the incumbent management team at Shinkong Synthetic Fibers after he later takes over the chairmanship from his elder brother," the lawyers said.

When asked if the Wus' family-run businesses have officially split up, Chern said that a family meeting, to be called by the mother in the near future, will gather the four siblings and dissolve the family squabble face-to-face.

Over the family meeting, the mother will reaffirm the four siblings' family-business territories. According to a statement issued by Wu Kuei-lan, her eldest son, Eugene Wu (吳東進), will be put in charge of Shinkong Financial Holding Co (新光金控), Shinkong Life Insurance Co (新光人壽), Shinkong Wu Ho-su Memorial Hospital (新光醫院) and the Great Taipei Gas Corp (大台北瓦斯).

Second son Wu Tung-hsien's (吳東賢) territory will include Shinkong Spinning Co (新光紡織), Shinkong Insurance Co (新光產險) and Shinkong Investment Trust Co (新光投信). Thomas Wu -- the third son -- will head Taishin Financial and its subsidiaries, including Taiwan Securities Co (台証證券) and Taishin Bills Finance Corp (台新票券), while the youngest, Eric Wu, also a Taiwan Solidarity Union legislator, will take charge of the fiber maker.

The family squabble broke out in early August when Thomas Wu proclaimed himself to be the fiber-maker's rightful chairman despite being challenged by his younger brother, who was backed by their mother.

The younger Wu then petitioned the Ministry of Economic Affairs, which, in October, ruled him to be the lawful chairman with Thomas Wu vowing to dispute the ministry's ruling.

After each side filed lawsuits, Thomas Wu later received a court order, which denied Eric Wu's application for a preliminary injunction to keep his elder brother from taking the chairmanship.

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