Search begins for new Central Bank governor

The search has begun for a new Bank of Thailand governor after incumbent Veerathai Santiprabhob announced last week he would not seek a second term citing family reasons. Veerathai, who skillfully steered the central bank through challenging times, will serve until October.

Thailand’s central bank has a sterling reputation in global financial circles because of its independence and professionalism. It has charted a steady and judicious course for the Kingdom’s monetary policy and conducted effective oversight of financial institutions through successive governments.

A new governor would be expected to uphold the bank’s independence while supporting sound policies for growth.

An Eisenhower Fellow, Harvard-educated Veerathai was the youngest central bank governor in decades when he was appointed in 2015 at age 45. The 23rd governor’s five-year term will expire on September 30.

When Veerathai took the reins at the central bank, Thailand was in an economic tailspin following a decade of political turmoil. He loosened monetary policy to restart economic growth and help small and medium-sized businesses, while carefully guarding the bank against excessive risk-taking.

He oversaw a financial sector development plan that encouraged innovation, digital development, and the advent of new non-bank players. The central bank created a “sandbox” where commercial banks and digital innovators could test new financial products without exposing the wider banking community and consumers to any possible perils.

The result has been rapid adoption of blockchain and other new technologies by Thai banks, making them more competitive for the future.

A central bank official said a selection committee tasked with finding Veerathai’s replacement would accept applications over the next two weeks. A shortlist will be sent to Minister of Finance Uttama Savanayana y July 2.

The Cabinet of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will make the final selection and forward the nominee for royal approval.

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