A Geely CEO for Proton
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.