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What defines a leader? How can a CEO inspire the best in others? Thailand’s top CEOs share their insights on the challenges of leadership in a complex world.
Managing Director, PMT The Hour Glass
THG Prima PMT The Hour Glass is Thailand’s leading purveyor of fine timepieces. Its exemplary brand partners include global leading maisons such as Patek Philippe, Rolex, Audemars Piguet, and Hublot Established in 2008 as a joint-venture company between Prima Times Co., Ltd. and The Hour Glass Limited, PMT The Hour Glass’s established store network comprises five boutiques located in Bangkok’s most prestigious malls and one duty-free luxury watch gallery in Phuket . The Oxford graduate draws inspiration from his parents as well as from Dale Carnege’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, because it helps him to build meaningful relationships in his personal and business life.
2. Vittawat Chinabarramee
Managing Director, Niche Cars Group
Niche Cars Group is the premier importer to Thailand of supercars such as Pagani, Koeniggsegg and Hummer.The main show room on the outskirts of Bangkok has the capacity to exhibit more than 40 cars and service more than 100 cars at the same time, and the group also operates individual showrooms for McLaren, Lotus and Lamborghini.
Managing the group is 33-year-old Vittawat Chinabarramee. Growing up abroad has taught him valuable life lessons, including independence, responsibility, self-discipline and decision-making and adaptability skills in unfamiliar surroundings and difficult circumstances. Being responsible and accountable are at the forefront of his work approach.
3. Adisak Limprungpatankiji
Chief Executive Officer, Nation Broadcasting Corporation
Having graduated from Thammasat University, Adisak Limprungpatankiji started his career as a financial journalist with The Nation more than 30 years ago. Working his way up to become the CEO, Limprungpatankiji has been instrumental in creating the multimedia business that Nation Broadcasting Corporation is today. His achievements include restoring the Krungthep Turakij newspaper and launching Thailand’s first 24-hour news channel.
During his time at Nation Broadcasting Corporation, the media landscape has changed significantly. Limprungpatankiji stresses the importance of being prepared and ready for change and to be open to suggestions from people and society.
4. Yuttachai Teyarachakul
Managing Director, Personal Financial Services, United Overseas Bank (Thai)
As the managing director of financial services, Yuttachai Teyarachakul is responsible for the bank’s personal deposit services, credit cards services, personal loan services, funds investment, privilege and wealth banking and retail banking. He is an avid student of Buddhism and often uses Buddhist teachings in his approach to problem-solving, including studying the root cause of the problem, minding the details and seeking as much information as possible before making any decision. Teyarachakul takes inspiration from his father and from John C Maxwell’s 25 Ways to Win with People, the former because he taught him integrity and showing gratitude, the latter because it taught him about leadership and people management.
5. Yuki Srikanchana
Managing Director, Pendulum
Yuki Srikanchana heads Pendulum, which is one of Thailand’s premier distributors of luxury timepieces. Having spent 24 years in the luxury watch industry, Srikanchana decided to make a business out of her passion for food and cooking and in 2006 launched Nara, a Thai restaurant with branches in Bangkok and Singapore.
6. William E Heinecke
Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Minor International
Starting his first company at the tender age of 17, Bill Heinecke has built one of South East Asia’s most successful and prolific companies spanning property development, hospitality and retail. Minor International owns and operates over 1,700 restaurants, over 300 retail outlets and over 130 hotels across 35 countries. The entrepreneur believes the ability to spot a problem early and not let pride or sentiment affect decisions are important factors in running a successful business, as well as striking the balance between listening and leading. Having learned to fly many years ago, he is the co-founder of MJets, which operates Thailand’s only fixed-base operator and private jet terminal at Don Muang International Airport.
7. Vorravit Siripark
Founder and Managing Director, Panpuri
Having obtained his master’s degree in luxury goods management in Milan, Vorravit Siripark returned to Thailand to establish Panpuri, which quickly became one of the country’s leading luxury spa and aromatherapy products companies. Offering a complete range of premium-quality natural spa and personal care products, Panpuri operates stores and wholesales products through leading department stores, hotels and resorts.
According to Siripark, a great leader is someone with a vision that others might not have thought of and someone who is not afraid to make a decision and accept accountability and responsibility. A leader must also inspire others and build and develop the people around him or her.
8. Vicha Poolvaraluk
Chairman, Major Cineplex Group
Vicha Poolvaraluk is chairman of one of Thailand’s leading entertainment conglomerates, composed of not only movie theatres but also bowling alleys, karaoke rooms, retail and food and beverage. The company has been at the forefront of developing innovative cinemas and improving the cinema experience in Thailand.
Unsurprisingly, Poolvaraluk enjoys watching movies and also spends much of his spare time with his family. His favourite movies and books tend to lean towards the philosophical, including The Pursuit of Happyness and Seven Pounds . They teach him about the world and how to see and understand people.
Major Cineplex Group recently expanded into Cambodia.
9. Olarn Phirintharangkoon
Country Manager, Virgin Active Thailand
In just a couple of years, Virgin Active has become one of Thailand’s premier gyms, with branches in Empire Tower, EmQuartier and WestGate. With over 270 clubs in the UK, Italy, Spain, Portugal, South Africa, Australia and Singapore, Virgin Active is one of the world’s most recognisable fitness brands, and as the country manager for Thailand, Olarn Phirintharangkoon is committed to creating a unique customer experience. Phirintharangkoon is open to new things and ready to learn about all aspects of the business. He places great emphasis on developing and empowering his staff. That means treating everyone like a business partner, focusing just as much, if not more, on human as on capital assets.
10. Joshua Lee
Founder and Managing Director, Lee Marine
Lee Marine is one of Thailand’s leading yacht sales and service companies, offering a range of new and pre- owned vessels as well as technical and operational services. As the founder and managing director of the company, Joshua Lee believes Thailand will continue to be a hub in Asia and a centre of water tourism in the future.
11. Ben Taechaubol
Chief Executive Officer, Country Group Development
As CEO and director of Country Group Development, Ben Taechaubol is responsible for the group’s most significant project to date, Chao Phraya Estate. This 32-billion-baht waterfront development, features the world‘s largest Four Seasons Residences, the new Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok and the city‘s first all-suites Capella Hotel. Taechaubol accepts that while meticulous planning and prevention is essential, problems are a normal part of everyday business. He approaches problem-solving with the conviction that all problems have a solution.
The CEO‘s favourite book is A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini because as he puts it: “It is a beautifully written novel about inspiration amid human suffering."
12. Apichart Chutrakul
Chief Executive Officer, Sansiri Public Company
As CEO of Sansiri, one of Thailand’s most prolific real estate companies, Apichart Chutrakul is responsible for overseeing the financial performance of the company, a position that requires insight into the fluidity of operations, accounting, good governance and financial discipline and transparency. The CEO believes it is important to meet others with sympathy, to be able to understand people and to be willing to compromise when working in a team. Chutrakul is upbeat about the future of Thailand but he sees education as an area where the government needs to improve, enabling the next generation to keep up with an ever- changing and increasingly globalised world. The world changes all the time, he says, but we haven’t changed enough.