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Wowprime board elects new chairman

Wowprime board elects new chairman

Taipei, July 23 (CNA) The board of directors of Wowprime Corp. (??), a major restaurant chain operator in Taiwan, elected Park Chen (???) chairman Thursday to replace retiring Steve Day (???). The board meeting had been planned since Day announced his early retirement on July 6, catching many investors off guard. After Day's announcement, Wowprime appointed Chen, who was then vice chairman and president of the company, as acting chairman. Since Day's announcement, shares of Wowprime had fallen more than 9 percent on the local main board before a rebound on Thursday. Day's retirement announcement came three years earlier than expected. Following Chen's election, Wowprime shares added 3.13 percent to NT$247.00 (US$7.92), with 215,000 shares changing hands as of 12:12 p.m. Thursday. The stock outperformed the broader market, in which the weighted index was down 1.72 percent, as market analysts said that the decision to elect Chen is expected to stabilize Wowprime's operations. Wowprime has a total of 13 restaurant brands in the country, including the flagship Wang Steak. It also owns five brands in China. Currently, Wowprime operates about 400 restaurants across the Taiwan Strait, including some 100 in China. Following Day's retirement announcement, speculation about a power struggle inside Wowprime has been escalating, with rumors that Chen forced Day to step down since he was unhappy with Day's leadership style. Chen, the leader of Wowprime's China operations, which contributed 30 percent of the group's revenue last year, has vowed to expand to 1,000 restaurants in China by 2022, with revenue of 10 billion Chinese yuan (US$1.61 billion) and profit of 1 billion yuan. The market has described Chen as an "aggressive wolf," while Day managed the company with an idealistic flair. However, Wowprime has repeatedly denied the market speculation. After Chen's election, the company said that he is just the right successor to Day and is expected to continue his predecessor's business culture and strengthen the firm's operations. After Thursday's board meeting, both Day and Chen were all smiles and shook hands in front of reporters in a show of unity. Day shrugged off press reports about his being forced to retired as "just speculation." Wowprime was established in 1993 and its revenue has grown to almost NT$20 billion a year, with a workforce of 17,000. After his retirement, Day will devote himself to charity activities of the Wowprime DS Foundation. (By Esme Jiang and Frances Huang)


Updated : 2021-09-17 18:25 GMT+08:00