Vuong Phuong, the 55-year-old founder of Vietnam’s largest corporation, Vingroup, will replace Le Thi Thu Thuy as the CEO of VinFast, the company announced. Thu Thuy, a finance veteran, will assume the position of chairwoman and be in charge of external stakeholder relations. As CEO, Vuong will supervise all aspects of the electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer’s operations, including global production, sales, and marketing. The new CFO will be Nguyen Thi Lan Anh, who is responsible for financial matters at Vingroup’s EV battery arm. Despite optimism about breaking even by the end of 2024, VinFast has yet to turn a profit and posted a net loss of $623 million in Q3.
Vuong Phuong, founder of Vingroup, replaces Le Thi Thu Thuy as the CEO of VinFast, effective immediately. Le Thi Thu Thuy had been in the role since late 2021, according to the company’s announcement. In her new role, Thu Thuy will lead the engagement with external stakeholders as the company’s chairwoman.
As CEO, Vuong will directly supervise VinFast’s operations, covering global production, sales, and marketing. This marks the fourth change in the top position at VinFast, which has previously been held by industry veterans from General Motors and Opel, Volkswagen.
In more executive reshuffles, Vinfast has appointed Nguyen Thi Lan Anh as Chief Financial Officer. Anh, who currently manages financial matters at Vingroup’s EV battery arm, takes over from David Mansfield, CFO since 2022.
According to VinFast’s board, this is the ‘right time’ to bring about leadership changes as the company readies for the next phase of its growth. Founded in 2017, VinFast began EV production in 2021 and has continually secured financial backing from Vuong, who is considered Vietnam’s richest individual as per Forbes.
In 2023, Vuong extended a $1 billion grant to VinFast. Nevertheless, despite aggressive pricing in the EV market led by Tesla and several Chinese companies such as BYD, VinFast has struggled to turn a profit. The company ended Q3 with a net loss of $623 million.
Vuong remained hopeful about the company’s financial outlook. In June 2023, he expressed his expectation for VinFast to attain a break-even point by the end of 2024.
Vuong’s Success Story
Vuong laid the foundation of his fortune in Ukraine, manufacturing instant noodles after completing his engineering studies in Russia. He sold the noodle firm to Nestle SA for an undisclosed amount. In 2002, he returned to Vietnam and founded Vingroup, the country’s largest conglomerate, with diverse interests from real estate to EVs.
Investors trading in Asian markets may be affected by these executive changes at VinFast, a key player in the rapidly growing Vietnamese EV market. It could particularly impact portfolios with investments in the automotive industry.