Pro­ton CEO to re­sign on Sept 30

Geely to nom­i­nate can­di­date for main op­er­a­tions

The Star Malaysia - StarBiz - - News - By M. HAFIDZ MAHPAR hafidz@thes­tar.com.my

SHAH ALAM: Pro­ton Hold­ings Bhd chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer (CEO) Datuk Ah­mad Fuaad Ke­nali ( pic) will step down ef­fec­tive Sept 30 as the au­to­mo­tive com­pany’s share­hold­ers DRB-Hi­com Bhd and Zhe­jiang Geely Hold­ing Group Co Ltd draw close to con­clud­ing their cor­po­rate ex­er­cise.

In a state­ment to Bursa Malaysia yes­ter­day, DRB-Hi­com said its for­eign strate­gic part­ner (FSP) Geely Hold­ing, which holds a 49.9% stake in Pro­ton, would nom­i­nate a suit­able can­di­date as the CEO of Pro­ton’s wholly-owned sub­sidiary Perusa­haan Oto­mo­bil Na­sional Sdn Bhd (PONSB).

PONSB is the Pro­ton group’s main pro­duc­tion, op­er­a­tions, man­u­fac­tur­ing and mar­ket­ing com­pany. Apart from PONSB and the hold­ing com­pany Pro­ton Hold­ings, the other key en­tity in the group is Pro­ton’s wholly-owned dis­tri­bu­tion out­fit Pro­ton Edar Sdn Bhd.

DRB-Hi­com did not give any can­di­date name, say­ing that an an­nounce­ment would be made in due course. How­ever, a re­port from the China-based car news por­tal Au­to­mo­tive Re­view pre­vi­ously sug­gested that for­mer Dongfeng Honda En­gine Co Ltd deputy gen­eral man­ager Li Chun­rong, who has of­fi­cially joined the se­nior man­age­ment of Geely, was slated to over­see Pro­ton’s op­er­a­tions.

Datuk Radzaif Mo­hamed, who be­came Pro­ton deputy CEO at the same that Fuaad be­came CEO on April 1, 2016, will con­tinue in his deputy CEO role at PONSB.

For all three en­ti­ties, DRB-Hi­com will have an ad­di­tional seat at the board of di­rec­tors level to match the 50.1% that DRB-Hi­com holds.

In the Bursa an­nounce­ment, DRB-Hi­com said it and Geely Hold­ing was work­ing to­wards com­ple­tion of their cor­po­rate trans­ac­tion “which is ex­pected to ma­te­rial- ise very soon.”

Both par­ties were “in­ten­si­fy­ing ef­forts” to fi­nalise the de­tailed busi­ness plan for the Pro­ton group, it noted.

“The de­tailed busi­ness plan is vi­tal to­wards pro­duc­ing a solid ‘road-map’ for Pro­ton Group for the years ahead; and is one of the key items to be con­cluded as part of the com­ple­tion ex­er­cise. The busi­ness plan will in­cor­po­rate strate­gies for both com­pa­nies to de­velop new ve­hi­cles to­gether for the global mar­ket,” it ex­plained.

On the com­ple­tion of the trans­ac­tion “soon”, DRB-Hi­com said it would make an an­nounce­ment on the com­po­si­tion of the board of di­rec­tors at each key en­tity of the Pro­ton group.

Apart from fu­ture ap­point­ments of the board mem­bers, DRB-Hi­com con­firmed that its group man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Al­bar would con­tinue as the over­all chair­man of Pro­ton Hold­ings.

“Among oth­ers, Syed Faisal’s role is to en­sure that the tie-up will achieve its ben­e­fits and ul­ti­mately, pro­vide a re­turn on in­vest­ment to the share­hold­ers, namely DRB-Hi­com and Geely Hold­ing,” it said.

In the state­ment, Syed Faisal com­mended Fuaad on his ten­ure at the car­maker.

“He has done an im­pec­ca­ble job in his short ten­ure at Pro­ton Hold­ings. Un­der his watch, Pro­ton had rolled-out four new mod­els in a span of eight short months,” he said.

“He also played a vi­tal role in clos­ing Pro­ton’s search for a suit­able FSP. The need for an FSP in Pro­ton was one of the key priorities of DRB-Hi­com at the point of our ac­qui­si­tion of Pro­ton in 2012.”

Fuaad was ap­pointed as CEO of Pro­ton Hold­ings on April 1, 2016, af­ter as­sum­ing the po­si­tion of chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer/se­nior group di­rec­tor of DRB-Hi­com in 2013.

“Fuaad will be as­sum­ing a big role with a re­lated com­pany and the board wishes him the best for his fu­ture un­der­tak­ings,” Syed Faisal said. The state­ment did not elab­o­rate on the “re­lated com­pany.”

On Pro­ton Hold­ings deputy CEO con­tin­u­ing his deputy CEO role at PONSB, Syed Faisal said this was in or­der to en­sure a smooth in­te­gra­tion.

Sim­i­larly, Ab­dul Rashid Musa, who was named as CEO of Pro­ton Edar Sdn Bhd in Fe­bru­ary 2017, would also con­tinue in his role as the CEO at the dis­tri­bu­tion arm.

“With Radzaif and Rashid re­main­ing in their po­si­tions, this en­sures con­ti­nu­ity within the Pro­ton Group. It will also ease the tran­si­tion of the fu­ture CEO of PONSB and this can only be good for the ven­ture,” Syed Faisal said.

DRB-Hi­com and Geely Hold­ing signed a heads of agree­ment on May 24 to en­able the Chi­nese car­maker to be­come a FSP for Pro­ton. On June 23, both par­ties inked the de­fin­i­tive agree­ment in Kuala Lumpur.

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