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June 24, 2017

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FPG to seek a replacement head for Vietnam steel plant

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Formosa Plastics Group (FPG, 台塑) executive Wilfred Wang (王文潮) yesterday stated that the company is seeking an experienced expert and industry veteran to lead the company's Vietnam-based steelworks operation.

Lin Shin-yi (林信義), former chairman of FPG's Vietnam-based steelworks operation, the Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Co. (越南河靜公司) had previously tendered his resignation after the outbreak of anti-China rioting that wreaked havoc on many Taiwanese companies operating in the region.

Although FPG had not announced its preferred candidate, industry observers stated that as the conglomerate has no other steelworks operations except the Fujian Fuxin Special Steel Co. (福建福欣鋼), Lin's replacement is expected to come from another company in the industry.

Wang stated at a public engagement yesterday that Lin's resignation citing personal career planning reasons was approved by the company, while commending his efforts throughout the three years and eight months of service with the conglomerate since 2011.

Replacement Chairman to face Tremendous Challenges

Meanwhile, industry experts stated that Lin's replacement will face the two tremendous challenges of rallying the company's contract construction workers from China to make up for lost progress on building the steel plant in Vietnam and reaching the goal of beginning production at the facility in 2015.

Reports indicate that prior to the riots, about 3,000 Chinese construction workers were tasked with building the plant. Following an evacuation after the outbreak of rioting, only several hundred workers had dared to return to Vietnam. FPG is facing losses of NT$300 million for each day of delay in the Vietnam plant's construction.

In addition to knowledge of the steel industry, commentators indicated that Lin's replacement must be well-versed in construction planning and be capable of convincing contracted workers that it is safe to return to Vietnam, reassuring them that their well-being and interests will be ensured.

Rumors of Lin's Successor

Rumors indicate that Yang Hong-chih (楊鴻志), who currently serves as the president of Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Co. may take the chairmanship. According to sources familiar with FPG, Yang's abilities and expertise in construction project management are held in high regard by management, and he is considered by many to be among Wang's most trusted confidants. Yang's aptitude for the post, however, may be affected by his age. Although the FPG do not impose mandatory retirement at the age of 65, Yang, at 65, may balk at the prospects of taking on such a tremendous challenge so late in his career.

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