The struggle between the heirs to Evergreen Group (長榮集團) yesterday escalated as the three older brothers reportedly took drastic measures to undermine their younger brother’s accession to the helm of the family-run shipping and transportation empire.
The dramatic shift came two months after Evergreen Group founder Chang Yung-fa (張榮發) died on Jan. 20 and left a December 2014 will that named his youngest son, Chang Kuo-wei, (張國煒), chairman of Eva Airways (長榮航空) and the only son of his second wife, as his successor and the sole inheritor of his estate worth billions of New Taiwan dollars.
Chang Yung-fa’s eldest son, Chang Kuo-hua (張國華), led his two brothers by his father’s first wife in moving to dissolve the group’s top management team during an extraordinary board meeting, effectively stripping Chang Kuo-wei of the chairmanship, local media said, without naming sources.
In the absence of a chairman or management team, senior executives are to be dispatched to oversee the conglomerate’s subsidiaries, reports said.
The move reportedly aimed to deny Chang Kuo-wei leadership of the group after he allegedly disclosed their father’s will before the family agreed on the succession issue, the media said.
As the chairmanship is not protected by the law, disputes might boil down to the size of stakes held by rival heirs, reports said.
An Evergreen Group filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange showed that the three older brothers hold stakes of 34.7 percent and 54.56 percent respectively in the group’s main subsidiaries, Evergreen Marine Corp (長榮海運) and Evergreen International Storage & Transportation Corp (榮運), compared with 6.83 percent and 2.3 percent held by Chang Kuo-wei.
Chang Kuo-wei might even lose the chairmanship of EVA Airways, reports said.
He holds a 14.67 percent stake in the airline, compared with 31.65 percent held by his stepbrothers, who might seek to oust him during the company’s board meeting next month, or during a board of directors election scheduled for June, reports said.
A move to oust Chang Kuo-wei from the airline would require support from independent board members, who were installed under his watch, reports said.
Chang Kuo-wei could also seek endorsement from foreign institutional investors, who hold a 26.38 percent stake in EVA Airways and can forge alliances with others to bolster his stake in the airline by NT$4 billion (US$119.16 million), reports said.
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