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Thursday, 07 September 2017 08:36

DRB-Hicom plays down talk of Proton management change

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A report from the China-based car news portal Automotive Review had suggested that former Dongfeng Honda Engine Co Ltd deputy general manager Li Chunrong, who has officially joined the senior management of Geely, is slated to oversee Proton’s operations.  If the speculation holds true, then Li could become the first foreign CEO to lead Proton. The current CEO of Proton is Datuk Ahmad Fuaad Kenali, who was appointed in March 2016.

PETALING JAYA: DRB-Hicom Bhd has played down talk of an impending change in management at Proton Holdings Bhd, saying that the company and its Chinese partner are focused on formulating a “solid business plan” for the national carmaker.

“We refer to the various news reports on changes of key personnel at Proton.

“We wish to clarify that DRB-Hicom and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd are currently still in the process of finalising details of the transaction,” it said in a statement yesterday.

DRB-Hicom had on June 23 agreed to sell a 49.9% stake in Proton to Geely.

“The first priority for both parties at this time, as part of the agreed items of the Definitive Agreement signed on June 23, is to formulate a solid business plan that can ensure Proton will be on a solid footing as it embarks on its new journey,” it said.

“Any material announcement in this regard, if any, will be made in due course.”

The statement came amid speculation that Proton would get a chief executive officer (CEO) from China.

A report from the China-based car news portal Automotive Review had suggested that former Dongfeng Honda Engine Co Ltd deputy general manager Li Chunrong, who has officially joined the senior management of Geely, is slated to oversee Proton’s operations.

A report in China Press quoting the Xinhua state news agency said that Li had left Dongfeng Honda and joined Geely on Aug 22.

If the speculation holds true, then Li could become the first foreign CEO to lead Proton. The current CEO of Proton is Datuk Ahmad Fuaad Kenali, who was appointed in March 2016.

Ahmad Fuaad was previously DRB-Hicom’s chief operating officer (finance and corporate).

Reports earlier quoted International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed as saying that the government had no issue if a foreigner was eventually appointed as chairman of Proton at the international level.

He was also reported as saying that Proton should be progressive when it came to this matter and must pick talent irrespective of the person’s nationality.

“If we are too confined to whether they are foreigners or not, we will not be progressing,” he had said then.

http://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2017/09/07/drbhicom-plays-down-talk-of-proton-management-change/

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