The Leaderboard: Dinh Tien Dung

The Leaderboard profiles the people behind the policies of the Asia-Pacific.Who is he?

Dinh Tien Dung is a rising star and former head of the State Audit Committee of Vietnam. Mr. Dung has moved quickly through the ranks with strong support from his mentor and tennis doubles partner, former minister of planning and investment Vo Hong Phuc. After earning his bachelors and master’s degrees in finance from the National Economics University in Hanoi, Dung worked in state a state-owned construction company and became a member of Communist Party of Vietnam in 1988. Shortly thereafter, he was promoted to the Ministry of Construction.

Dung’s big move came in 2007 when he was selected as chairman of People’s Committee in Dien Bien province, and two years later moved to chair Ninh Binh province. The two northern provinces are politically important and his work was seen as effective in promoting foreign investment and a strong fiscal balance sheet. In 2011, he was elected by the National Assembly as head of the State Audit Committee.

Why is he in the news?

This morning in Hanoi, Mr. Dung was selected to succeed Mr. Vuong Dinh Hue to become, at 52 years old, Vietnam’s youngest minister of finance. Dung was voted in with over 71% majority vote from the members of the National Assembly. His promotion had been recommended by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. Mr. Dung’s predecessor, Mr. Hue, will move to head the Communist Party’s Economic Commission.

What can we expect from him?

Mr. Dung’s promotion signals the Communist Party’s commitment to bring in technocrat capable of implementing needed economic reforms. His experience working in the state run sector prepares him well to be the tip of the spear for the government to begin the process of downsizing the state-owned-enterprises, culling the weak among them and focusing on building a Singapore-like small cadre of major market movers, and returning other assets including people to the private sector. Dung’s role as State Auditor should send a chill through those weaker companies who are highly leveraged or depend on corruption and hand out to survive. He will know which files to pull as he implements the Party’s plans to streamline and drive new growth.

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