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TSMC's Tsai named as next chair of Chunghwa Telecom, awaits call-up

TAIPEI--The path is clear for Rick Tsai (蔡力行), an executive at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC, 台積電), to take up the chairmanship at Chunghwa Telecom Co. (中華電信) after the Cabinet approved his appointment.

Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih said Tuesday that as the largest shareholder in Chunghwa Telecom, government approval means that Tsai, currently head of the solar and solid-state lighting at TSMC, will be able to fill the vacancy left when Chunghwa's sitting chairman Lee Yen-sung retires Jan. 6.

The personnel appointment was brought to the Cabinet for approval last week and was approved Monday, he said.

But the announcement seems to have come of a surprise to senior officials at Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan's largest telecommunications company, many of whom said the government decision came “quite suddenly.”

Observers have noted that Tsai has no background in telecommunications despite his extensive management experience. They believe the government is eyeing reforms for Chunghwa Telecom, which was privatized from a state-run business in 2005 when the government's ownership was reduced to less than 50 percent.

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