Published on September 29th, 2017 | by Subhash Nair


Proton Group Revitalization Begins

Exactly one hundred days after the signing of the Definitive Agreement between DRB-HICOM Berhad (DRB-HICOM) and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (Geely Holding) on 23 June, the two companies have confirmed the new board structures and part of the executive team for PROTON Holdings Berhad and its related companies (PROTON Group).

Company Structure

At the PROTON Holdings Berhad (PHB) level, Dato’ Sri Syed Faisal Albar remains as the Chairman, and he is joined on the board by Shaharul Farez Hassan and Amalanathan Thomas as nominees from DRB-HICOM. Farez and Nathan are both part of the senior management team at DRB-HICOM.

Geely Holding has nominated Daniel Donghui Li and Feng Qing Feng as their nominees to the PHB board. Daniel Donghui Li is the current Executive Vice President and CFO of Geely Holding, while Feng is the Group Vice President and CTO of Hong Kong-listed Geely Auto.

All five nominees also sit on the Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Sdn Bhd (PONSB) board, along with Dr. Nathan Yu Ning, who is the Vice President of International Business at Geely Holding. Winfried Vahland, who was formerly the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Skoda Auto, is also on the board of PONSB.

Syed Faisal, Farez, Nathan, Daniel Donghui Li and Dr. Nathan Yu Ning also sit on the board of PROTON Edar Sdn Bhd, the Malaysian distribution arm of PROTON.

The Board of Directors has set the global revitalisation of the PROTON brand as their core priority.

Global Executive Team

PROTON Group has nominated Dr. Li Chunrong as the Chief Executive Officer of PONSB, following the departure of Dato’ Ahmad Fuaad Kenali on September 30.

Dr. Li has devoted his entire 30-year career to the automotive industry and has worked with major international brands such as Honda, Kia and Dongfeng in various high level roles.

Dr. Li shall be responsible for the whole operations of PROTON, involving the production, manufacturing, operations, marketing, quality and research & development, and also sales and marketing.

Current Deputy CEO, Dato’ Radzaif Mohamed will support Dr. Li and together they will lead in the revitalisation plan for PROTON.


The full and complete revitalisation of PROTON is the key goal of both the Board of Directors, as well as the Executive Team that will be leading the change. The joint goal of both teams is to see PROTON restored to being the best-selling brand within
Malaysia and a top three ASEAN brand in the coming years. To achieve this goal, the management of PROTON has established a global team that is able to utilize the leading market knowledge of both shareholders; the leading local knowledge of DRB-HICOM and also the international resources of Geely Holding.

Syed Faisal believes the cooperation between both companies will yield the desired results.

Dr. Li will become PONSB’s CEO from 1 October, 2017 onwards and will be
instrumental in working on jointly developed vehicles for PROTON. The first of these jointly developed vehicles will be a mid-sized SUV, the first time that PROTON has entered into this hotly-contested segment.

Newly-appointed PONSB CEO, Dr. Li says he is looking forward to the challenge that has been laid out for him.

Meanwhile, Geely Holding’s acquisition of a majority 51% share in British sports car manufacturer Lotus from PROTON has also been completed. DRB-HICOM started
an international bidding exercise for a foreign strategic partner in 2016, which saw more than 30 global companies vetted. Geely Holding was announced as the new strategic partner on 24 May this year following the signing of a Heads of Agreement
in Kuala Lumpur.

About the Author

Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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