Alan Perriton first came to Korea as a missionary. More than 30 years later, he is still bridging cultures as the executive in charge of General Motors Corp's purchase of Daewoo Motor Co assets. \nPerriton's fluent Korean and experience in the country made him the US automaker's choice to lead a team of negotiators through three years of bargaining. \n"Alan has a broad knowledge of Korean culture and the Korean language, which has certainly helped us in dealing with GM," said Daewoo Motor Chairman Lee Jong Dae in an interview. \nGeneral Motors and its partners agreed yesterday to buy three Daewoo Motor auto plants and nine overseas sales units for US$1.17 billion in cash and assumed debt. Counterparts at Daewoo say Perriton, who heads General Motors' Asia-Pacific alliances and partnerships, was key to successfully resolving marathon talks to salvage bankrupt Daewoo Motor. \nHis job isn't over. The venture needs approval from courts and regulators, a process he says will take as long as 90 days. \n"Our first priority is to stabilize the company and to get it on a solid financial platform that will allow for it to be successful," Perriton, 56, who has shuttled between Seoul and his home in Japan, said in an interview. He called the negotiations the toughest three years of his career. \nGeneral Motors had initially wanted to sign a final accord by the end of this year, about three months after reaching a memorandum of understanding with Daewoo creditors. \n"There isn't a hard part," Perriton said, declining to identify any specific sticking point. "There were many challenges." Difficulties in reaching an accord with unions that initially rejected any sale of Daewoo assets to a foreign buyer posed a challenge, officials said. As creditors pushed ahead with plans to fire a third of employees, worker protests escalated, with Molotov cocktails hurled into General Motors' offices in Seoul last March. \nSeeking neutral ground, Perriton and Korean counterparts shifted meetings between Seoul and Hong Kong. A month ago, with talks in the final stage, Perriton stopped commuting home to Japan and holed up in Seoul's Hilton Hotel. \nThe hotel site was to have been the location for yesterday's signing ceremony until disgruntled union staff stormed the venue, forcing organizers to shift the event to offices of the Korea Development Bank, Daewoo's main creditor. \nThe signing chaos will probably be looked on as a minor event in talks that started in 1998. That was six years after General Motors pulled out of a 50-50 joint venture because it disagreed with Daewoo Group's hunger to expand. \nIt was the right call: Daewoo's parent collapsed under US$80 billion of debt in 1999 because of its hasty expansion. \nTalks with General Motors resumed, only to falter as the Korean group came undone through 1998 before gathering steam in February 1999. That was a month after Perriton was named to manage General Motors' alliances in the region. \nPerriton brought to the negotiating table years of experience expanding General Motors' reach in Asia, the world's fastest- growing auto market. He was involved in the automaker's purchases of stakes in Japanese automakers Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd and Suzuki Motor Co. \nThe latter accords involved more prosperous companies and so were "significantly less complex in terms of the nature of the transactions" than the one involving bankrupt Daewoo, he said. \nDaewoo, with its annual sales reaching as much as US$5 billion, will be the "linchpin" to General Motors' efforts to grab more of the market, said Frederick Henderson, president of GM Asia-Pacific.
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
RECEIVING TREATMENT: President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President William Lai and Premier Su Tseng-chang visited former president Lee Teng-hui yesterday morning Taipei Veterans General Hospital yesterday rebutted speculation that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had died a day earlier, saying that he was weak, but receiving treatment. The hospital said the 97-year-old Lee was not in good condition and needed ongoing care, adding that if there are any changes in his condition, it would make those public. The comments came after rumors emerged online on Tuesday that Lee had died after being hospitalized since early February. Soon after the unsubstantiated rumors emerged, reporters started flocking to the hospital seeking confirmation. Lee was admitted to Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Feb. 8 after choking while drinking
ROAD TO HISTORY: When Lee Teng-hui joined the KMT, the likelihood of a Taiwanese becoming ROC president, much less its first directly elected one, was hard to imagine Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who was born on Jan. 15, 1923, in the farming community of Sanshi Village, Taihoku Prefecture — now New Taipei City’s Sanzhi District (三芝) — during the Japanese colonial era, and rose to become mayor of Taipei and not only the Republic of China’s (ROC) first Taiwan-born president, but its first directly elected one as well. Educated in the Japanese educational system of the time, Lee, who spoke Japanese, Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), Mandarin and English, won a scholarship to Kyoto Imperial University, but his studies were interrupted by World War II. He earned a bachelor’s