February 24, 2024

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Vietnam electric car maker VinFast appoints its founder as CEO and replaces CFO

Vietnam electric car maker VinFast appoints its founder as CEO and replaces CFO

VinFast Auto Ltd. The VF8 electric car is seen at the company's showroom in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Thursday, September 7, 2023. VinFast is one of the most well-known companies in Vietnam, backed by the country's richest man Pham Nhat Phung who founded Vingroup JSC, a conglomerate of homes, hotels, hospitals and shopping malls. the shopping. The group, together with its subsidiaries and lenders, has deployed $8.2 billion in operating and capital expenditure financing for VinFast over the past six years. Photographer: Linh Pham/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Vietnamese electric car maker VinFast on Saturday appointed its founder and biggest financial backer, Pham Nhat Phung, as chief executive officer as it plans an ambitious overseas expansion and increases sales through dealerships.

VinFast said in a statement that Vuong, 55, will replace Le Thi Thu Thuy, who has held the position since late 2021. Thuy, a financial expert, will serve as president and lead engagement with external stakeholders.

Phuong, who is also founder and chairman of Vingroup — Vietnam's largest conglomerate and parent company of VinFast — will directly oversee the electric car maker's operations, including production, sales and global marketing, the company said.

He will be VinFast's fourth CEO. Previous CEOs include GM veteran James DeLuca and Michael Loeschler, who came from Opel and Volkswagen.

In the latest executive shakeup for the ambitious Vietnamese automaker, VinFast has appointed Nguyen Thi Lan Anh, who oversees finances at Vingroup EV's battery arm, as chief financial officer, replacing David Mansfield, who was in the role from 2022.

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“This is an opportune time to develop the company's leadership as it enters the next phase of its development,” VinFast's board of directors said.

Founded in 2017, VinFast began manufacturing electric vehicles in 2021 and receives ongoing financial support from Vuong, Vietnam's richest man, according to Forbes.

In April 2023, Vuong gave VinFast a $1 billion grant.

VinFast, which is not yet profitable, entered the electric vehicle market at a time when car prices are under pressure, led by cuts at market leader Tesla and a group of Chinese companies, including BYD.

The company ended the third quarter, which ended September 30, with a net loss of $623 million.

In June 2023, Hanoi-born Vuong said he expected VinFast to “break even by the end of 2024.”

Fung made his initial fortune in Ukraine, where he moved in the early 1990s after studying engineering in Russia and manufacturing instant noodles, before selling the company to Nestlé for an undisclosed sum.

He returned to Vietnam in 2002 and created the country's largest conglomerate, focusing on real estate, resorts, schools, hospitals, shopping malls and, most recently, electric cars.