With the signing of the Definitive Agreement between DRB-Hicom and Geely Holding just 100 days behind us, the two companies have come to an agreement on the new board structures and executive teams for Proton Holdings Berhad (PHB) and other companies under the Proton Group.
Dato’ Sri Syed Faisal Albar remains as Chairman of Proton Holdings Berhad (PHB), and he is joined on the board by Shaharul Farez Hassan and Amalanathan Thomas as the nominees from the DRB-Hicom side- both of whom are also part of the senior management team at DRB-Hicom. From the Geely Holding side, Daniel Donghui Li and Feng Qing Feng will sit as nominees on the PHB board; the former is President and CFO of Geely Holding, while the latter is Group Vice President and CTO of Hong Kong-listed Geely Auto.
All five of these nominees also sit on the board of Proton Edar Sdn Bhd, which remains as the Malaysian distribution arm of Proton. In addition to this, they will also be on the board of Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Sdn Bhd (PONSB), joined with Dr. Nathan Yu Ning- the Vice President of International Business at Geely Holding. Winfriend Vahland, formerly a Chariman and CEO of Skoda Auto, is also taking a position on the board of PONSB.
Syed Faisal, Farez Hassan, Nathan, Daniel Donghui Li and Dr. Nathan Yu Ning will sit on the board for Proton Edar Sdn. Bhd., the Malaysian distribution arm of Proton. Both PONSB and Proton Edar are wholly-owned by Proton Holdings Berhad.
Following the departure of Dato’ Ahmad Fuaad Kenali on September 30th, Dr. Li Chunrong has been nominated by Proton Group to fill the Chief Executive Officer position of PONSB. Dr Li has spent the last 3 decades in the automotive industry, working with major international brands such as Honda, Kia, and Dongfeng in various high-level roles. His role at Proton will be to manage the entire operation- from production to manufacturing, sales and marketing to quality, and even research and development. Deputy CEO of PONSB, Dato’ Radzaif Mohammed, will support Dr. Li in his role.
As for the revitalisation plans, this is perhaps the bit of news that more people are interested to hear about. To become the best-selling brand within Malaysia is one goal, but far loftier than that is to become the top-three ASEAN brand in the coming years. To help achieve this, the management of Proton has established a long-overdue global team that can utilize the lead market knowledge of both shareholders; it aims to capitalize on local market knowledge from DRB-Hicom, along with the international resources of Geely Holding.
Also long overdue is a mid-sized SUV from Proton, and this is expected to be the first of the jointly-developed vehicles with Geely. Dr Li will become PONSB’s CEO from the 1st of October, 2017, and he will be instrumental in the development of the jointly-developed vehicles to come.
Geely Holding’s acquisition of a 51% majority share in Lotus from Proton has also been finalized. DRB-Hicom had been looking for a foreign strategic partner since 2016, and more than 30 global companies had bid for the British sports car manufacturer. Geely Holdings was announced as the new strategic partner on the 24th of May, earlier this year.