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Tue, Dec 25, 2001 - Page 18 News List

Chester Koo, a founder of GigaMedia, dies of cancer

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

Chester Koo (辜啟允), chairman of GigaMedia Ltd (和信超媒體) and former president of China Life Insurance Co (中國人壽), died yesterday at the age of 49 of gall bladder cancer, according to a China Life statement yesterday.

The news of his death comes just two weeks after

Koo retired as head of China Life.

The Koo family, one of Taiwan's richest with interests ranging from cement to communications, made an official announcement yesterday afternoon.

Nelson Chang (張安平), chief operating officer of GigaMedia, has been appointed to temporarily act as the broadband Internet service provider's chairman, the statement said.

Koo, 49, and his father Koo Chen-fu (辜振甫), 84, quit on Dec. 5 at a board meeting as president and chairman of China Life due to Chester's deteriorating health and his father's age.

Koo Chen-fu, chairman of Koos Group (和信集團), also leads the Straits Exchange Foundation (海基會), the quasi-official body authorized by the Taipei government to handle civil exchanges with the mainland in the absence of official contacts.

In light of Chester Koo's death, China Life shares fell as much as 3.1 percent to NT$9.55 in early Taiwan trading. But the shares soon recovered to NT$10.20 at around 10am before closed at NT$9.85.

A Taiwan Cement Corp (台灣水泥) official said the passing of Chester Koo would have little impact on the company because he had already quit his board position at a board meeting earlier this month. Taiwan Cement shares remained unchanged at NT$8.25.

Meanwhile, the question of who would lead a proposed joint venture between GigaMedia and Star TV, a satellite television unit of the US-based News Corp, remains unknown. Earlier this month, the two announced a US$100 million venture to provide interactive TV service in Taiwan late next year or early 2003. Both companies were to hold equal shares in the venture with Chester Koo designated to chair the new entity.

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