Prime Minister reshuffles Cabinet, new economic team
Responding to calls from the business community for more vigorous action on the economy, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha reshuffled his cabinet last week, replacing the deputy prime minister overseeing economic affairs along with the finance minister, commerce minister, industry minister and minister of foreign affairs in a bid to develop bolder policies to boost growth.
The key change was the appointment of Somkid Jatusripitak as Deputy Prime Minister in charge of the economy, replacing Pridiyathorn Devakula. Somkid was a finance minister, commerce minister and deputy prime minister in the governments of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra from 2001 through 2006, after which he abstained from party politics. Three years ago he founded the Thailand Future Study Institute, a think tank supported by major Thai corporations.
Regarded as an expert on marketing and competitiveness, he has co-authored two books with his mentor Philip Kotler: The New Competition and The Marketing of Nations: A strategic approach to building national wealth, as well as being the sole author of The Exporting Behavior of Manufacturing Firms. He holds a Ph.D. in Marketing from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
The Thai business community reacted positively to the changes. “The new Cabinet seems to bring new hope, especially the economic team, not only Somkid, but also the other ministers. We hope the government would focus more on solving economic problems, from focusing mainly on reconciliation,” said Paiboon Ponsuwanna, an adviser to the Thai National Shippers Council.
Surin Pitsuwan, former secretary-general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, said the changes to the Cabinet should provide a great start to finding new solutions for many economic issues, which mainly concern exports and domestic consumption.
Somkid will be supported in his efforts to kick start growth by new economic ministers Apisak Tantivorawan in finance, Apiradi Tantraporn in commerce, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith in transport and Uttama Savanayana in ICT.
In international relations, new Minister of Foreign Affairs Don Pramudwinai is a career diplomat who has held several ambassadorial posts including serving as Thailand’s permanent representative to the United Nations as well as Thailand’s Ambassador to China, the European Union and the United States. He first joined the ministry in 1974, and he holds a Master of Arts degree in international relations from the University of California in Los Angeles, as well as a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He had been serving as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs prior to being appointed minister.
Thailand Focus August 24th, 2015
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