Ministry to pick new Taipei 101 chair by Jan. 5

NOT SATISFIED: A KMT legislator criticized Diana Chen’s job as head of the firm, saying her salary was higher than Ma Ying-jeou’s, but Taipei 101 was ailing

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Fri, Dec 26, 2008 - Page 1

Minister of Finance Lee Sush-der (李述德) said yesterday that the government would select a new chairperson for the Taipei Financial Center Corp (台北金融大樓公司), owner of the Taipei 101 building, by Jan. 5.

Lee’s remarks came after chairwoman Diana Chen (陳敏薰) reportedly offered to resign on Wednesday night after Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers cast doubt on her competence.

Lee told the legislature’s Finance Committee that the ministry, which has majority control of the company, would name a successor at the board of director’s meeting scheduled for Jan. 5.

In response to questions from KMT legislators eager to know who Chen’s successor would be, Lee denied that there was a list of candidates.

KMT Legislator Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) said Chen wanted to stay at her post until the end of the year so that she could host the annual fireworks show on New Year’s Eve.

In response, Lee said that Chen had tendered her resignation verbally and that the approval process was under way, adding that there was no need to hold an emergency board meeting before Jan. 5.

KMT Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) criticized Chen’s performance, saying that her monthly salary was NT$500,000 — more than that of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) — but that Taipei 101 had lost nearly half of its capital since Chen had taken the helm in 2004.

Lee said Chen’s high salary and perks were not in line with public expectations during an economic downturn.

The minister did not say whether he would take steps to address the issue.

During an interview with the Chinese-language Apple Daily published yesterday, Chen was asked whether the recent resignations of several financial institution executives who are closely linked to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), were politically motivated.

“I think so. The situation will be resolved after I leave,” Chen told the newspaper.

Lin Cheng-yi (林誠一), former chairman at China Development Financial Holding Corp (開發金控), and Henry Kao (高志尚), former supervisor at Taishin International Bank (台新銀行), tendered their resignations recently amid speculation that the KMT government was attempting to get rid of officials appointed by the former DPP administration.