Vinfast Auto Ltd. electric vehicle VF8 model at the company’s showroom in Hanoi, Vietnam on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023. Vinfast is one of Vietnam’s most high-profile companies, backed by the country’s richest man, Pham Nhat Vuong, who founded Vingroup. JSC, a conglomerate spanning homes, hotels, hospitals and shopping malls. The group, together with its partners and lenders, has invested $8.2 billion to finance Vinfast’s operating expenses and capital expenditure over the past six years. Photographer: Linh Pham/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Vietnamese electric vehicle maker VinFast on Saturday named its founder and biggest financial backer, Pham Nhat Vuong, as chief executive, as it plans an ambitious overseas expansion and boost sales through dealerships.
Vuong, 55, replaces Le Thi Thu Thuy, who had been in the post since the end of 2021, VinFast said in a statement. Thuy, a finance expert, will serve as chair and lead engagement with external stakeholders.
Vuong, also the founder and chairman of Vingroup, Vietnam’s largest conglomerate and VinFast’s parent company, will directly oversee the EV maker’s operations, including global production, sales and marketing, the company said.
He will be Vinfast’s fourth chief executive. Previous CEOs include General Motors veteran James DeLuca and Michael Lohscheller, who came from Opel and Volkswagen.
In the latest executive changes for the ambitious Vietnamese automaker, Vinfast appointed Nguyen Thi Lan Anh, who oversees financial affairs at Vingroup’s EV battery arm, as chief financial officer, replacing David Mansfield, who Was on this post since 2022.
VinFast’s board of directors said, “This is the right time to develop the company’s leadership as it enters the next phase of its growth.”
Founded in 2017, VinFast began manufacturing EVs in 2021 and has received continued financial backing from Vuong, who is Vietnam’s richest man, according to Forbes.
In April 2023, Vuong provided a $1 billion grant to VinFast.
VinFast, which has not yet turned a profit, has entered the EV market at a time when car prices are under pressure, led by several Chinese companies including market leaders Tesla and BYD.
The company ended the third quarter ended September 30 with a net loss of $623 million.
In June 2023, Hanoi-born Vuong said he expected VinFast “to reach break even point by the end of 2024.”
Vuong made his early wealth in Ukraine, where he moved in the early 1990s after studying engineering in Russia, and created instant noodles, before selling the company to Nestlé SA for an undisclosed sum.
He returned to Vietnam in 2002 and founded the country’s largest conglomerate, focused on real estate, resorts, schools, hospitals, shopping malls and most recently EVs.