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Former EVA Air chair blasts ousting process as illegal

Former EVA Air chair blasts ousting process as illegal

Chang Kuo-wei, who was removed from his position as chairman of Taiwan-based EVA Airways on Friday, has issued a statement through his lawyer, blasting the ousting of him as illegal.

Chang's removal was the latest development in a war of succession among the children of Evergreen Group's late founder Chang Yung-fa, who he died on Jan. 20.

The group, a transportation conglomerate in Taiwan, includes its best known flagship businesses -- Evergreen Marine Corp. and EVA Air, which is one of the two largest international carriers in Taiwan.

On Friday afternoon, EVA Air called a special board meeting at a time when Chang, a qualified pilot, was flying an EVA Air flight to Singapore. Chang's flight touched down in Singapore on 3:11 p.m. Taipei time, and the board meeting kicked off at 4:30 p.m. Chang was informed of the meeting just two hours before it started.

For the sake of safety, EVA Air said that the carrier decided to bar Chang from flying any EVA Air flight back to Taiwan on Saturday. On an original roster of EVA Air, Chang was scheduled to fly a plane back to Taiwan on 1:10 p.m. Saturday Taipei Time and arrive at 5:40 p.m.

The infighting surfaced after Chang Kuo-wei, Chang Yung-fa's only son by his second wife, announced on Feb. 18 his own promotion to the position of Evergreen Group chairman, citing a will left by his father.

However, Chang's brothers from the elder Chang's first wife refused to recognize Chang Kuo-wei's promotion and instead abolished the position of group chairman on Feb. 22, followed by the coup on Friday.

In the statement issued Friday through Chang Kuo-wei's lawyer Sung Yao-ming, Chang said that the procedure to remove him failed to abide by the law and also failed to follow the legal interpretation of the law by the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Chang has expressed regret over the failure of the late Chang's will executors to do their job in the execution of the will, adding that when they realized they did not want to execute the will, they should have resigned.

According to the local media report, the younger Chang holds an 11.45 percent stake in EVA Air through an investment company incorporated in the British Virgin Island, but his brothers by the late Chang's first wife controlled a 28.78 percent stake in the international carrier.

The special board meeting, which lasted for less than 30 minutes on Friday, decided that Lin Pao-shui, a veteran executive in Evergreen Group for 40 years, would succeed the ousted Chang to take the position immediately. Before taking the EVA Air position, Lin was the chairman of Evergreen Steel Corp.

Lin started working for Evergreen Group in 1976, was promoted to the president of EVA Air in 2004, and served as the carrier's chairman between 2005 and 2011.

The younger Chang told the press that he has come under attack from his elder half brothers since the war of succession took place after he publicized his father's will in February.

While claiming his step-brothers' action was illegal, Chang said he hopes the new management of EVA Air will take good care of the carrier's employees. He added that he will take a break after stepping down from the chairmanship and said he will travel the world and try cuisines everywhere he visits.

Chang will return to Taipei on Saturday as a passenger on board a flight, but it's not clear whether it will be an EVA Air flight.
(By Wang Shu-fen, Pan Chi-I, Wei Shu and Frances Huang)

Updated : 2021-10-26 05:12 GMT+08:00