(Yicai Global) July 20 -- Li Chunrong, director and deputy general manager of Dongfeng Honda Engine Co., is set to join Geely Holding Group to oversee operations at Malaysian automaker Proton Holdings Berhad, Chinese newspaper 21st Century Business Herald reported today.
Zhejiang-based Geely chose Li for his experience in managing Chinese and joint-venture auto manufacturing businesses, the report said, adding that Li Shufu, chairman of Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. [HKG:0175], visited Li Chunrong in person to persuade him to join.
"Geely is recruiting from a pool of candidates across the world to find a new head for Proton," Yang Xueliang, vice president at Geely Automobile, said yesterday. "Li Chunrong expressed his intention to join the company, but his position at Proton is still vacant."
21st Century Business Herald contacted Dongfeng Honda today, but was unable to confirm the news, it reported. The information currently available does not confirm he will be joining Proton, but it seems set in stone he will be departing his current company soon.
On June 23, Geely Holding Group signed an agreement with DRB-Hicom Berhad [MYX:1619], a leading Malaysian auto corporation, to purchase a 49.9 percent stake in Proton and 51 percent holding in British sports car maker Lotus Cars. After the deal, Geely became Proton's sole foreign strategic partner.
The Proton acquisition was an important event for Chinese automakers looking to export their capital, products and technologies. It also marks Geely's first move into Southeast Asia, the sixth largest car market in the world, and a key step in the company's globalization strategy.