Vietnam's FPT to appoint new CEO to head global expansion

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FPT Corp. Chairman and CEO Truong Gia Binh presents robot Smartoshin to a shareholders' meeting in April 2013

FPT Corp., Vietnam's largest listed telecommunications and technology company, is poised to hire a new chief executive officer this quarter as it positions itself to expand globally, Chairman Truong Gia Binh said.

Binh, who has been filling in as the CEO since Truong Dinh Anh resigned the post last September over "differences" with the board, said in an interview in Hanoi the company has conducted a global search for a new leader.

FPT and other Vietnamese technology companies are vying to compete with regional software giants like India's Infosys Ltd. and emerging Chinese companies, capitalizing on Vietnam's low labor costs and tech-savvy workforce. The new chief executive officer will be charged with helping FPT significantly expand its outsourcing business in the U.S., Binh said yesterday.

"Adding a new CEO shows the company is confident and moving forward," Lam Nguyen, a Ho Chi Minh City-based analyst at technology research firm International Data Corp., said in a phone interview yesterday. "Fresh management, new ideas, new personnel -- I think that's a plus for FPT."

Revenue growth

Shares of Hanoi-based FPT have rallied 24 percent this year, outpacing the 20 percent advance in the benchmark VN Index. (VNINDEX) Binh said he expects the company will achieve a revenue target of $1.3 billion this year, compared to $1.2 billion last year.

The leadership shift comes as FPT, one of Vietnam's largest private companies and strongest brands, moves to provide more cutting-edge services in the areas of cloud computing, big data and mobile technology. It operates offices in 11 countries.

A new CEO represents a generational change at FPT, said Lam. Binh, who co-founded the company in 1988, said he will remain as chairman. He served as chief executive officer for 20 years before stepping down in 2009.

"I would like to transfer it to a second generation of leadership at FPT," said Binh, who is 57-years old.

The new CEO will share the company's "vision" for further global expansion and a strategy to develop higher-end technology services, he said. Earlier this year, FPT opened a research and development center in Silicon Valley. The company has partnerships to globally deploy the technology of Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and SAP AG (SAP) to clients and is looking to develop similar relationships with other tech giants, Binh said. FPT is also providing services to companies using Inc's cloud technology.

'Spirit of FPT'

Binh's presence at the company has been reassuring to investors, Lam said.

"He spearheaded the company into what it is today," he said. "He's kind of like the spirit of FPT."

FPT's eight subsidiaries employ about 16,000. The company targeted in March a pretax profit rise of 10 percent to 2.65 trillion dong in 2013. The company has exceeded its first-half targets, Binh said, without giving specific numbers.

FPT is looking to grow its U.S. outsourcing revenue to a total of $100 million by 2016 from $22 million, Binh said.

"We target very high growth there," he said. "It's a big chance for FPT."

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