Wed, Dec 25, 2013 - Page 13 News List

TSMC’s Rick Tsai to move to Chunghwa Telecom Co

By Lisa Wang and Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporters

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications yesterday confirmed local media reports that Rick Tsai (蔡力行), chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) solar and LED lighting subsidiaries, is to be appointed as the new chairman of Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信).

Tsai is to replace Lee Yen-sung (李炎松), 64, who will retire from the nation’s biggest telecom operator next month.

Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) yesterday confirmed the report by the Chinese-language Commercial Times, saying that the Cabinet approved the appointment on Monday.

Tsai was CEO of TSMC, the world’s biggest contract chipmaker, from 2005 to 2009. He became the second former TSMC executive tapped to lead local telecoms, following in the footsteps of former TSMC chief financial officer Harvey Chang (張孝威), who moved to Taiwan Mobile Co (台灣大哥大), the nation’s No. 2 telecom carrier, in 2003.

Chang stepped down in 2010 as president and CEO of Taiwan Mobile Co.

Chunghwa Telecom yesterday declined to comment on the personnel change.

TSMC spokesperson Elizabeth Sun (孫又文) said Tsai had informed TSMC chairman Morris Chang (張忠謀) about his leaving for Chunghwa Telecom.

TSMC would select a new chairman for TSMC Solar Ltd (台積太陽能) and TSMC Solid State Lighting Ltd (台積固態照明), Sun said. Steve Tso (左大川), TSMC’s chief information officer, is expected to be Tsai’s successor, the Chinese-language Central News Agency reported yesterday.

The Chunghwa Telecom Workers Union yesterday said in a statement that it would “seriously and closely” observe any new chairman’s words and actions.

Chunghwa Telecom Workers Union chairman Chu Chuan-ping (朱傳炳) said that Tsai had enforced an improper performance review system and asked the employees to take unpaid leave during his time as CEO of TSMC. Chu said that some employees were even forced to leave the firm and exposed their plight to the media, as well as to the Council of Labor Affairs.

“TSMC’s reputation as a company that considers employees as its greatest asset, as well as the best employer in Asia, was tarnished under Tsai’s reign. Not only did it hurt the morale of the employees, but it also caused the public to question if the company had given up on its employees too quickly,” Chu said.

He added that the corporate image of TSMC would be incorrigible if it were not for the return of the company’s founder, Morris Chang.

Chu further questioned why the Ministry of Transportation and Communications gave the Chung-hwa Telecom position to Tsai, given his record at TSMC.

He also questioned if the appointment was decided by Minister-without-Portfolio Simon Chang (張善政), who had said that Chunghwa needs to play a much more active role in the lease of networks delivering communications connectivity to retail customers.

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