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TAIFEX Chairman Fan to be appointed new THSR leader

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The China Aviation Development Foundation's (CADV, 航發會) board of directors yesterday passed a vote to elect Taiwan Futures Exchange (TAIFEX, 期交所) Chairman Fan Chich-chiang (范志強) as Taiwan High Speed Rail Co.'s (THSR, 台灣高鐵) legal entity representative.

According to the CADV, Fan may be appointed the official chairman of THSR on March 13, following the resignation of former THSR Chairman Ou Chin-der (歐晉德) last week. Ou said his decision to resign was meant to take responsibility for glitches in THSR's train service and unwelcome ticket price hikes, which have caused complaints over the past two years.

Prior to the CADV's announcement, local media outlets reported that Fan would most likely be chosen for the position, to which Fan replied by asking the media not to "force me to jump into a pit of fire."

According to CADV Secretary General Hsu Yung-hao, Fan is an experienced professional in finance and the board of directors is impressed with Fan's outstanding performance in the financial, security and aviation industries; Fan was appointed because the board hopes he will be able to solve the THSR's financial problems.

The CADV will be sending the documents concerning Fan's appointment to THSR today, whose board of directors will also be holding a meeting on March 15.

Fan, 63, has served as board director for TransAsia Airways, Fuhua Trust and ASKEY Computer Corporation in the past.

THSR spokesman Ted Chia clarified that Ou's resignation had nothing to do with his role on the campaign team of Sean Lien (連勝文), the son of Kuomintang Honorary Chairman Lien Chan.

Ou was appointed as general consultant to the campaign of Sean Lien, a Kuomintang Central Committee member who announced his bid to run for mayor of Taipei in late February. Ou earlier told local media that his work on Lien's Taipei mayoral bid would not interfere or conflict with his job. He served in his position since September 2009, and submitted his resignation to the CADV by fax.

Although Transportation Minister Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) denied speculation that he had pressured Ou to step down from his position, Yeh was seen by many to be the main force behind Ou's resignation when he previously hinted that Ou should take responsibility for the company's many mistakes.

Yeh continued to deny commenting on the THSR's personnel adjustments.

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