The founder and longtime chairman of Formosa Plastics Corp., 89-year-old Yung-ching Wang, stepped down June 5 as the company prepared to shift more authority to a team of executives.
Wang, who founded Formosa in 1954 and had been its only chairman, built it into one of the largest PVC manufacturers in the world, with diversified holdings in other plastics, and industries from oil refining to electronics.
He has towered over the industry in Taiwan, and Forbes magazine estimated his personal fortune at $5.4 billion, ranking him 107th on its list of the world's richest people this year.
He will be replaced as chairman by President C.T. Lee, but the parent company, Formosa Plastics Group, said its executive committee also will take on a larger role, deciding major projects and investments, and that Wang will have an advisory role.
Several members of the executive committee are relatives of Wang's, and they also hold management positions within the firm. Bloomberg news service quoted a company official as saying the policy is ``collective leadership.''
Wang's younger brother, 84-year-old Yung-tsai Wang, also will step down from his executive position at FPC. Bloomberg said the company told reporters that the brothers plan to step aside gradually from their roles at other Formosa subsidiaries such as Formosa Chemical and Fibre Corp. and Formosa Petrochemical Corp.
The company also reportedly said it is enlarging the executive committee to include one of Wang's daughters. Another daughter was named deputy chief executive officer.
Change with stability
Petrochemical industry analysts said they do not think Wang's departure will mark major changes, since the company merely is elevating executives who have long histories there.
``I don't think it will change the aggressiveness and how the organization is run,'' said David Witte, vice president and managing director of Chemical Market Associates Pte. Ltd.'s Singapore office. ``I think they've been fairly rounded for some time.''
David Jiang, president of Beijing-based Sinodata Consulting (Beijing) Co. Ltd., said the change is not likely to have a negative impact on the company.
He said Formosa has major investments in mainland China and is likely to push ahead with plans to invest in a cracker there, if the Taiwanese government gives it permission.