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Sabeco to have new CEO

Released at: 15:32, 22/07/2016

Sabeco to have new CEO

Photo: Duc Anh

Brewer sends proposal to MoIT as it attempts to steady the ship after internal strife made public.

by Tue Lam

The Deputy CEO of the scandal-hit Sabeco seems likely to become CEO of the beer giant after the position remained vacant for months and led to its recent leadership crisis.

Mr. Le Hong Xanh, Deputy CEO of the Saigon Beer Alcohol-Beverage Joint Stock Corporation (Sabeco) was named as a candidate for the CEO position in the brewer’s proposal sent to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) on July 20, according to sources close to the matter.

If the proposal is approved Mr. Xanh, born in 1957, who is also a member of Sabeco’s Board of Management, will take over the CEO position that has been temporarily filled by Chairman Mr. Vo Thanh Ha since January. Mr. Ha holding the two positions is believed to be contrary to regulations for the Law of Enterprises.

The proposal raised some eyebrows, however, as Mr. Xanh will retire due to his age in July 2017, creating concern that his year or so in office will do nothing to help the corporation’s business performance.

But some see it as a good move. “It is necessary to have an experienced leader like Mr. Xanh at Sabeco for the time being,” Mr. Nguyen Hoang Hai, General Secretary of the Vietnam Association of Financial Investors (VAFI), told VET after hearing the news. “Mr. Ha holding two positions - Chairman and CEO - at Sabeco is invalid under law.”

In a VAFI document sent to MoIT on June 21 it detailed five matters it described as “mistakes by former Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang” regarding leadership appointments at Sabeco.

“The former minister promoted senior leaders at some MoIT-managed State-owned firms - like Sabeco - who were inexperienced and lacked adequate capabilities,” it wrote in the document.

When Mr. Hoang led MoIT it did not transfer State assets in the equitized Sabeco and Habeco to the State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) as required by law, according to VAFI.

The association added that companies managed by the former minister avoided listing on the stock exchange and their equitization processes stagnated. Finally, VAFI repeated its claim that the appointment of Mr. Hoang’s son, Mr. Vu Quang Hai, as Deputy CEO of Sabeco was illegal.

According to VAFI, the quality of personnel under Mr. Hoang’s ten-year reign at the ministry resulted in poor business performance by many State-run companies.

Another example is Mr. Trinh Xuan Thanh, Deputy Chairman of the Hau Giang Provincial People’s Committee, who was promoted within the ministry even though the State-run PetroVietnam Construction Corporation (PVC) incurred losses of around VND3.3 trillion ($144 million) during his time as Chairman from 2007 to 2013.

Sabeco has charter capital of VND6.4 trillion ($288 million), with State capital accounting for 89.59 per cent. According to its business report, in the first four months of this year beer consumption reached 517 million liters, an increase of 17 per cent over the same period of 2015. Its pre-tax profit was estimated at VND1.25 trillion ($56.2 million), down 27 per cent year-on-year.

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