No leadership changes yet for Proton, says DRB-Hicom

KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 10, 2012): DRB-Hicom Bhd yesterday dismissed talk of a new face at the helm of Proton Holdings Bhd, saying no one has been appointed.

Group managing director Datuk Seri Mohd Khamil Jamil also denied news reports that Tengku Tan Sri Mahaleel Tengku Ariff, the outspoken former Proton CEO, would return to lead the national carmaker as chairman.

"It was never suggested. I don't know where the name (Tengku Mahaleel) came from. It was never from DRB-Hicom," Mohd Khamil told reporters after the signing ceremony between International College of Automotive (ICAM) and Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) here.

"I'm (also) surprised that there have been suggestions through the media that some people are going to be appointed or endorsed by Proton. I've not appointed anyone," he said.

Rumours that the current CEO and chairman of Proton will be replaced have gone into overdrive since Khazanah Nasional Bhd agreed to sell its controlling 42.7% stake in Proton to DRB-Hicom for RM1.29 billion. DRB-Hicom also accumulated an additional 7.7% stake in the open market, taking its total shareholding beyond the 50% threshold before its mandatory general offer.

On whether he has shortlisted any possible candidates for the positions, Mohd Khamil said he has in mind the commission of a management, but cannot reveal more at the moment as he needs to assess the situation.

"The CEO must be capable and must know how to manage and run a company. The person needs to have foresight and can plan to improve the future of Proton," Mohd Khamil said.

Earlier, ICAM, a member of DRB-Hicom, signed an international collaborative agreement with LJMU to conduct a 2+1 twinning programme for B. Eng (Hons) Manufacturing Systems Engineering on franchise basis.

Under the programme, students will complete two years at ICAM before progressing to LJMU in the UK for their final year.

"This collaboration is part of a roadmap that we have developed to upgrade ICAM to university status," Mohd Khamil said.