Corporate Governance

Thai CEOs discuss evolving governance requirements

17 November 2016

CEOs shares thoughts on corporate governance

K I Woo, Human Capital Alliance Senior Advisor discusses corporate governance with two top CEO’s.

The 9th Annual Thailand Roundtable on pensions and investments co-hosted by Human Capital Alliance at the Siam Kempinski Bangkok on November 10, 2016 included an interview with two of Thailand’s leading CEO’s.

Vorathep Rangchaikul, former CEO of Siam City Cement and Natasak Rodjanapiches, Oracle Thailand’s Managing Director said that corporate governance is now a key operating mantra for companies in Asia.

In the past, corporate CEOs in Thailand and most of the world were asked to merely deliver operating results for their shareholders.

During the past two decades, however, good corporate governance is now required to be imbedded in the corporate culture of all major companies.

Walk-the-talk

Vorathep said CEOs and companies are now required by their shareholders, capital markets and regulatory authorities to pro-actively walk-the-talk in practicing corporate governance.

Corporate governance in Thailand today includes infrastructural frameworks that include written codes of ethics and conduct as well as moral discipline.

“These principles are now imbedded into our DNA.”

Transparency

Oracle’s Natasak explained that corporate transparency today has evolved from its original meaning that merely describes it as extending a corporation’s actions to be observable by outsiders to the development of structural frameworks that ensure all company processes actions are transparent.

Today, many companies, he said use extensive IT processes to ensure all processes can be audited and tracked.

“Not only does it improve transparency but it also can easily measure our processes productivity,” he said.

Collective Action Against Corruption

The Thai Institute of Directors president, Dr Bandid Nijathaworn in another presentation outlined how Thailand’s Collective Action Against Corruption (CAC) has used its slogan “enterprise with integrity” to raise governance-based compliance standards.

Bandid said that the CAC has grown spectacularly since 2010 when it was founded by the Thai IOD and seven other business organizations.

Today the CAC has 732 signatory companies that include 361 Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) listed companies and 371 private companies.

“The SET listed members comprise 80 per cent of the exchanges total market capitalization,” he said.

In the future, Bandid said the CAC will rely on four main pillars to continue the coalition’s growth: using a sector approach and attracting more Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), citizens monitoring of government services, streamlining public services processes to mitigate corruption risks and using brand awareness by recognizing good performers.

Major issues forcing good governance

During the CEO interview, Vorathep and Natasak said that several major issues have increasingly forced companies to operate under global-standard good corporate governance principles.

1. The increasing demands of capital markets and more stringent government regulations.
2. The increasing importance of applying ESG (environmental, social and good governance) investment standards.
3. Fast moving digital environments that are constantly upending conventional business models.
4. Increasing “black swan” events that cause market volatility and uncertainty.

Transforming businesses in uncertain environments

Both Vorathip and Natasak said that in today’s fast-changing disruptive business environments, corporate leaders must constantly rethink and reshape businesses while continuing to run them day to day.

As leaders they must be able to convey a powerful transformation story to convinces all stakeholders to believe and support the programs.

They must be able to answer questions, that can range from how the transformations will affect the companies and impact individual employees.

Effective communication and transparency are key CEO governance requirements today.

Any communication’s impact not only requires compelling answers but also on the CEO’s willingness and ability to make things personal, by engaging others openly, and spotlighting successes as they emerge.

Vorathep said there was no substitute for a CEO directing his or her personal energy toward ensuring that the company’s efforts have an impact.

Initiatives with a significant financial or symbolic value, he said require the CEO’s personal involvement for maximum impact.

Balancing short and long term initiatives

Successful CEOs, Natasak never lose sight of their management responsibility to chair senior management review processes to ensure decision making stays grounded in facts.

He said today’s CEO also plays a critical role in ensuring an appropriate balance between near-term profit initiatives and long-term initiatives that build capacity to deliver tomorrow’s results.

Building strong and committed top teams

Natasak said any well-governed corporate leader needs excellent individuals player who are dedicated to playing as a team.

He reiterated that communication and transparency were also key requirements.

“Communicating and sharing a meaningful story and investing in team building have helped us getting good teams on board.”

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