CALL TO DUTY
Executives vacate for top govt jobs
Organisations must address vacuum
The coup is not only bringing drastic change to the political arena, but also at businesses whose veteran executives are leaving to join the new government.
After Bangkok Bank (BBL) executive chairman Kosit Panpiemras was approached to become a minister, the bank's board must figure out how to handle his departure.
"Preliminarily, it is understood that he will leave for only one year and then return. The board will have to consider if we need to appoint a replacement," said Bangkok Bank chairman Chatri Sophonpanich.
He said that a replacement is probably unnecessary.
By becoming a Cabinet candidate Kosit may also help the bank's image. BBL was earlier expected to suffer because of its closeness with the previous government. However, the confirmation of Kosit's appointment yesterday raised the bank's share price by Bt5 yesterday to Bt109 at the close of trading.
A former secretary-general of National Economic and Social Development Board, Kosit joined the bank more than 10 years ago with a mission to promote agriculture-related small and medium-sized enterprises through a private organisation. His mission was fulfilled with strong support from the Sophonpanich family, a major shareholder of the bank.
Kasikorn Asset Management Co Ltd is also expected to encounter a similar vacancy problem. Its chairman, Piyasvasti Amrananda, is expected to be appointed energy minister.
Prasarn Trairatvorakul, chief executive of Kasikornbank, which owns the fund company, said that under the law, high-level executives must resign from their posts when they join the government.
"We know that it is for the nation's sake," he said. "Therefore, if he is interested to return here afterward, he could express an interest. Still, the board will give the final answer."
The bank has made no move to find a replacement. Wiwan Tharahiranchote, Kasikorn Asset's managing director, can take over, Prasarn said.
The Bank of Thailand is also expected to appoint a replacement if Governor MR Pridiyathorn Devakula is tapped for the post of deputy prime minister and finance minister. It is expected that his deputy, Tarisa Watanagase, will replace him.
Observers wonder whether Pridiyathorn's appointment as finance minister could affect change at the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala, secretary-general of the securities watchdog, may find himself in an awkward position if the interim government were to investigate Ample Rich Investments, an offshore company owned by Thaksin Shinawatra's children, and other cases of insider trading related to politicians associated with the former government.
Under his tenure, the SEC has not uncovered any serious cases of securities and financial fraud.
Nearly three years ago under the Thai Rak Thai-led government, the central bank loaned Thirachai, then deputy governor of the BOT, to the SEC for a four-year term.
Thirachai was appointed to succeed Prasarn Trairatvorakul, the SEC's former secretary-general, whose four-year term ended in December 2003. When Prasarn's term was not extended that year, market watchers were concerned about the effects on the securities watchdog's supervisory role.
Prasarn was known for his toughness in regulating the securities industry like his predecessor - Ekamol Khiriwat.
Thirachai satisfied the market in his first two years with his dedication to punishing wrongdoers. However, he raised public suspicions when the SEC failed to find anything irregular involving a series complicated transactions leading up to the sale of Shin Corp shares, owned by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's family.
No top executives of Advanced Info Service Plc have been charged with insider trading, although trading records showed that they unloaded their AIS shares before the transaction in January, apparently knowing about the sale in advance.