Wed, Jul 20, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Hotel chair forced to resign, he says

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

Former Taipei mayor Huang Ta-chou (黃大洲) yesterday resigned as chairman of the Grand Hotel, saying he was forced to step down because of the elections in January next year.

“I was asked to step down immediately because of the elections next year. The situation is certainly very different from last year, when they were so eager to offer me the job,” said Huang, who is a member of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

The Duen-Mou Foundation, which owns the Grand Hotel in Taipei, will hold a board meeting tomorrow to elect a new chairman. A ceremony will also be held at 11am when the new chairman is inducted.

The Chinese-language China Times earlier this month said Asia Logistics Co chairman Lee Chien-jung (李建榮) was a likely candidate to be the new chairman. Lee is a former head of the KMT’s culture and communications committee.

The report said Lee has extensive experience in handling cross-strait affairs, but has no background in hotel management.

A majority of the directors on the foundation’s board are officials from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, including Tourism Bureau Director-General Janice Lai (賴瑟珍), Department of Railways and Highways Director-General Chen Yen-po (陳彥伯) and Technical Superintendent Lee Long-wen (李龍文).

Huang said he had accepted the position of chairman of the Grand Hotel after he had been encouraged to take it by senior government officials, even though he had already passed retirement age.

‘TRANSITIONAL’

“I was told recently that I was given the job to complete the unfinished term of my predecessor. It was simply a transitional position lasting a year,” Huang said.

In an interview with the Chinese-language United Evening News, Huang said he would not have accepted the position if he had known it was temporary.

Huang also rejected “fat cat” charges leveled at him, saying his salary was based on a resolution passed at a foundation board meeting in April last year.

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Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shi (葉匡時) said Huang had informed him about his intention to resign in a meeting last week, adding that it was a private meeting.

“Huang’s achievements as a former Taipei mayor were obvious to everyone and as a minister without portfolio, he was in charge of promoting the nation’s tourism industry,” Yeh said, explaining why Huang was hired last year. “I knew before the meeting last week that he was planning to resign.”

Yeh would not confirm whether Lee Chien-jung would succeed Huang as chairman.

He said he would not comment on the matter until the board had confirmed the appointment, nor would he comment on the possibility that a government official had approached Huang and asked him to resign. He also refused to comment on Huang’s grievances.

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