THSRC head makes surprise exit
Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp. chairman leaves with surprise and criticism.
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-03-06 01:19 PM
Ou Chin-der relinquished his duties as chairman and chief executive officer of Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation (THSRC) late Wednesday. Ou has been drawing huge criticism since the company raised the ticket price last October amid strong oppositions from government officials and legislators. The fare hike was soon followed by a number of severe delay troubles due to repeated power outage. As the THSR is under fire for mismanagement, Ou fanned the flames of anger by accepting the job to lead Sean Lien's election campaign team.

According to media report, Ou sent a letter by fax to the Association of Chinese Aviation Industry Development (ACAID), a government-sponsored foundation, to resign as its representative on the THSRC board of directors, bypassing the transportation minister whom Ou should report to. The ACAID is a major shareholder of the high-speed rail operator.

THSRC spokesperson Ted Chia confirmed the story and said that Ou for the time being still holds the role as CEO of THSRC and would step down as soon as the board of directors approves the leave. Chia emphasized that Ou's resignation comes after his worries of the disputes over the power outage accidents and fare hike last year. No political force was behind Ou's move, and this decision was made after long and thoughtful consideration, said Chia, denying rumors that Ou was asked to go.

KMT legislator Alex Tsai said that Ou has been bearing pressures from Transportation Minister Yeh Kuang-shih after he accepted the job to assist Lien in his Taipei mayoral bid. On February 22, around 5,000 passengers were affected by the disruptions in Taiwan's bullet train service which were caused by the malfunction of the power supply system. Yeh has publicly advised Ou that he should pay all his attention to run the corporation amid operation troubles and reconsider his decision to double as Lien's adviser. On Thursday, Yeh said he had no knowledge of Ou’s departure until being informed by other officials from ACAID.

Ou has become THSRC chairman since 2006, and was supposed to attend an interpellation at the Legislative Yuan Thursday with Yeh, who as a result was left alone to respond to press queries

Opposition DPP legislator Tsai Chi-chang broke the news Thursday that Ou has made a decision at the last minute before tendering his resignation by giving his son a job promotion from marketing specialist to marketing manager inside the THSRC. Tsai urged Ou to give a reasonable explanation on this matter.

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