China Airlines’ Chang Returns to Taiwan Government in Shake-Up

Chang Chia-Juch, chairman of Taoyuan, Taiwan-based China Airlines Ltd., will lead Taiwan’s economy ministry as part of an executive branch personnel shake-up that started Jan. 31.

Chang succeeds Shih Yen-shiang, 62, who has led the island’s Ministry of Economic Affairs since September 2009, the Executive Yuan, or Cabinet, said in a statement late yesterday. Minister Without Portfolio Kuan Chung-Ming, 56, will also lead the Council for Economic Planning and Development, taking over from Yiin Chii-ming, according to the Cabinet, which didn’t specify an effective date.

The leadership changes follow the promotion of Vice Premier Jiang Yi-Huah to premier, and a decision to re-appoint central bank Governor Perng Fai-Nan to a fourth five-year term. Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou is battling a 14 percent approval rating as he seeks to strengthen an economy that last year grew at the slowest pace in three years.

Chang, who was Vice Minister of Transportation and Communications for a decade until 2005, took over as chairman of Taiwan’s biggest carrier in January 2011, according to a statement from the airline announcing his new role. He is also a former chairman of China Steel Corp., Taiwan’s largest steelmaker.

Under his watch, China Airlines joined the SkyTeam airline alliance and an alliance with mainland Chinese carriers including China Southern Airlines Co. to expand networks and boost revenue.

China Airlines spokesman Hamilton Liu yesterday said he doesn’t know who will be the new chairman. China Airlines has gained 7.1 percent so far this year.