A Geely CEO for Pro­ton

The Star Malaysia - StarBiz - - Short Position -

TO those fol­low­ing the de­vel­op­ments of Pro­ton Hold­ings Bhd, they should not be sur­prised at the lat­est de­vel­op­ment.

The new chief ex­ec­u­tive of the com­pany that pro­duces the na­tional model will be from Zhe­jiang Geely Hold­ing Group Co Ltd. The per­son will re­place Datuk Ah­mad Fuaad Ke­nali from Sept 30 on­wards.

This will mark the first time that a for­eigner would be hold­ing the CEO’s post in Pro­ton, a post that would ef­fec­tively make him (or her) the head of pro­duc­tion op­er­a­tions.

The other key po­si­tions such as chair­man and the head of Pro­ton Edar – the mar­ket­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion arm of Pro­ton – are still held by Malaysians.

As a 49% share­holder in Pro­ton, Geely cer­tainly is en­ti­tled to nom­i­nate its rep­re­senta- tive to Pro­ton.

The au­to­mo­tive group from China has put in its money for its stake. It has the right to see that its in­ter­est is taken care of.

Not to be for­got­ten is that Pro­ton was bleed­ing DRB-Hi­com to the ex­tent that the lo­cal au­to­mo­tive group had to seek fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance from the gov­ern­ment. The losses were close to RM1­bil per an­num at a crit­i­cal stage.

It was at this junc­ture that Geely came into the pic­ture.

Go­ing for­ward, if a change in guard at the helm can help Pro­ton turn around, then it is some­thing that should be wel­comed.

Af­ter all, we have tried lo­cal tal­ent and it has not worked.

So, let’s give the new strate­gic share­holder a chance, even if it means putting its rep­re­sen­ta­tive as the CEO.

For long, Pro­ton cars’ qual­ity has been viewed un­favourably. That is one of the rea­sons why it has not been able to cap­ture a big­ger share of the lo­cal mar­ket.

Hope­fully, with a new strate­gic share­holder and a new man at the helm – even though the per­son is a for­eigner – the view on Pro­ton cars will change, and the for­tunes of the com­pany with it.

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