Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) yesterday admitted that he had discussions with former Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) chairman Ou Chin-der (歐晉德) about his position at the corporation, before Ou abruptly announced his resignation late on Wednesday night.
Yeh told lawmakers in a question-and-answer session in the legislature that he had not forced Ou to resign from the chairman’s role.
However, when pressed further by lawmakers, Yeh said that the issue of his position was raised in the meeting with Ou on Feb. 27 among many other issues.
“We exchanged our views on the issue,” Yeh said in response to questions from Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Te-fu (林德福).
Ou was one of the six directors representing state-owned shares of the company, whose 15-seat board was dominated by the government with all three independent directors were also government representatives.
Since September 2009, when Ou was elected to chairman of the board, he also served as the company’s chief executive.
Unnamed sources were quoted by yesterday’s edition of the Chinese-language Apple Daily as saying that Ou was told by Yeh on Feb. 27 that he would have to be discharged from both positions if he refused to quit as chief executive.
Yeh declined to comment on the report when asked first by Lin and then by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Liu Chien-kuo (劉建國), citing it as “a private conversation between [Ou] and me.”
At a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee on Thursday morning, Yeh told lawmakers that he did not know Ou had resigned as THSRC chairman until 10:45pm on Wednesday, hours after Ou spoke to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) that evening, adding that he was caught off guard by the announcement.
Liu said that Yeh should have told the committee that he had asked Yeh to resign as chief executive when lawmakers passed a resolution criticizing Ou for the manner of his resignation.