Thai Cabinet endorses KBank president Prasarn as new central bank chief

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Thailand’s Cabinet yesterday endorsed the nomination of Dr Prasarn Trairatvorakul, currently the president of Kasikornbank Plc, as the new governor of the Bank of Thailand (BoT).
The 58-year-old, Harvard-educated, banker will succeed Dr Tarisa Watanagase who will retire at the end of September, after receiving a Royal appointment from His Majesty the King.

Dr Prasarn Trairatvorakul earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering respectively at Chulalongkorn University and the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok before moving to Harvard for an MBA and doctorate on a scholarship from the Ananda Mahidol Foundation, established by HM the King to promote higher education.
After a two-year stint as a research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington DC, he returned to Thailand and joined the Bank of Thailand, primarily as an economist in the Department of Economic Research and later in the Department of Bank Supervision and Examination and Department of Financial Institutions Supervision and Examination.

In 1992, he left the central bank to join the newly created Securities and Exchange Commission, the regulator of the Thai bourse, as deputy secretary-general. He took the top position of SEC secretary-general in 1999 for four years before joining Kasikornbank as its new president.
Dr Prasarn and three other candidates had earlier gone through a selection process of a committee, appointed by the Finance Ministry, but the selective committee finally proposed the names of Dr Prasarn and BoT deputy governor Bandid Nijathaworn to the Finance Minister for consideration.

Two other candidates were SEC secretary-general Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala and Dr Pisit Leeahtam, a former deputy finance minister.

Yesterday, Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij, who earlier nominated Dr Prasarn for the central bank’s governorship to the Cabinet, said Dr Prasarn has all the qualifications needed for the BoT’s top job as he is a well-respected person with the capabilities in the banking business and financial institution.
The minister also said the new BoT governor must be independent and remain unperturbed amid political pressure while being able to run the central bank for the sake of the country’s economic stability.
Meanwhile, Kasikornbank, Thailand’s third largest bank, is expected to hold a meeting of its board of directors at the end of this month to find Dr Prasarn’s successor once the current president takes the top post at the central bank.

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