|Muong Thanh continues to fly high |
Than, part of the first generation of Vietnamese entrepreneurs after the renovation period, started his business in the early 1990s and is currently managing two large enterprises with more than 25,000 employees. One of them, Muong Thanh Group JSC, provides tourist accommodation services across the nation, with nearly 60 hotels and more than 11,500 rooms in all segments from three to five stars, featuring the unique ethnic Thai style of the north-western mountains.
Than’s breakthrough began in 2013 when he appointed his daughter Le Thi Hoang Yen, at the tender age of 26, to the position of CEO of what is now Vietnam’s largest private hotel chain.
Yen studied for seven years in the United Kingdom and holds a degree in accounting and finance from Birmingham University. Upon coming to Muong Thanh Hanoi Hotel for an internship, she fell in love with the service sector and became especially aware of her father’s development orientation.
In 2016, Muong Thanh Hospitality opened the Muong Thanh Luxury Vientiane 5-star hotel right in the capital of Laos. The opening was a launching pad for the Vietnamese hotel brand to expand overseas.
Yen’s father took six years to create the second hotel – Muong Thanh Linh Dam. Since then, Yen has increased the number of Muong Thanh hotels to over 60 with coverage throughout Vietnam. With Yen onboard, the group followed its original orientation, flying high as represented in the company’s logo, a pair of eagle wings.
When transferring the hotel management rights to his daughter, Than said, “I have to transfer sooner or later because I have reached the retirement age. This needs to be done as soon as possible.”
However, like many family business transfers, things did not work out without overcoming some hurdles.
When becoming a CEO of 10 Muong Thanh hotels operating on a non-standard basis, Yen was worried. “At that time, I was completely inexperienced and my father was not the type of person who would handle the work, he was more interested in the outcome. So I had to find my way independently,” she said.
Sharing the same ideals with her father, the female CEO of Muong Thanh Hospitality continues to develop an increasingly modern and integrated corporation while not neglecting the traditional cultural identity of her nation.
One of the first measures Yen accomplished in her new position was the establishment of a centralised management office for all of Muong Thanh’s local activities and further investment in IT systems.
Without experience of her own, she met people in the industry and persuaded them to work for her, establishing the foundation for the operation and management of Muong Thanh.
“In reality, there are more challenges than I imagined. But when I think of the responsibilities of the next generation, I have more motivation to gradually adapt, manage, and formulate development strategies,” Yen said.
The competence of the young female CEO is demonstrated through the rapid development of Muong Thanh Hospitality brand and one of her award titles, Vietnam Hotelier of the Year 2019, which she received at the Best Hotels & Resorts Awards in South Korea.
When asked about the gap between the two generations, Than admitted, “There are many differences. I belong to the old generation already. My child catches many new things but her weakness was her inexperience. But I will be in the background to support her with my experience.”
Yen also shared that the biggest thing she learnt from her father was the spiritual element. “When facing difficulties, my father firmly refused to give up. Dad taught me many valuable lessons. So far, my father always accompanies me and has been a great teacher and colleague.”