Chairman of Vietnam’s largest contractor resigns

By Minh Son   October 6, 2020 | 01:32 am PT
Chairman of Vietnam’s largest contractor resigns
Nguyen Ba Duong speaks at Coteccons' annual general meeting, June 30, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
The chairman of construction giant Coteccons has stepped down after a 17-year tenure that saw the company grow into Vietnam’s largest contractor.

The Ho Chi Minh City-based company announced the resignation of 61-year-old Nguyen Ba Duong on Monday. Duong said he was stepping down because his health would not allow him to contribute his best to the company and he wants to spend more time with his family.

The Coteccons board has approved his resignation and selected Kazakhstani Bolat Duisenov, currently the CEO of Kusto Vietnam, a construction and property developer unit of Singapore-based Kustocem, as the company’s new man at the helm.

Nguyen Ba Duong was a founder of Coteccons in 2004 after the equitization of a state-owned company under the Ministry of Construction.

Duong had a major role in building the company into an industry leader with revenues of VND23.7 trillion ($1 billion) last year and a pre-tax profit VND890 billion ($38 million).

His resignation follows a series of problems since 2017 between Coteccons and Kustocem which owns a 18.23 percent stake in the company.

After starting out as strategic partners, the relationship became confrontational after Kustocem twice called for extraordinary general meetings in October 2019 and early June to elect a new board of directors and order special audits of the management practices. It even wanted Duong to step down as chairman.

By June it had been able to rally support from a number of local and foreign shareholders owning around 45 percent of the company’s shares.

Coteccons had accused the Singaporean investors of launching a hostile takeover bid.

But things changed after Vietnam’s leading construction firm announced the resignations of two board members on June 22.

Kustocem representatives publicly thanked Duong for acting in the best interests of the company and shareholders, while he said geographical distance, cultural differences and the difference in views between the major shareholders and Coteccons board were the main causes of the recent "fuss."

"Resolving these bottlenecks is the start of a new chapter for Coteccons," he’d said.

The six-member Coteccons board now has just one who was part of Duong’s team.

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