The long search for a supremo at Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) seems to be over, with one of the four candidates reportedly picked before the selection committee got down to business.
Makin: Resigned old post only yesterday
Confident of winning the job as AoT president, Makin Petplai submitted his application by Wednesday's deadline and yesterday resigned from a secure and well-paid job as senior vice-president of Thaicom.
Thaicom is the satellite affiliate of InTouch Plc, formerly known as Shin Corporation, the telecom giant founded by fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Mr Makin, 44, confirmed yesterday to the Bangkok Post that he had called it quits at Thaicom, where he worked for two decades, and applied for the job at AoT, the majority state-owned firm that runs Thailand's six major airports.
The other three applicants for the AoT presidency are Nattasilp Chongsanguan, the younger brother of Prapat Chongsanguan, governor of the State Railway of Thailand (SRT); Pruet Boobphakam, a former executive vice-president of Thai Airways International (THAI); and Krit Thanitsarapong of Civil Engineering Co.
Both Mr Pruet and Mr Krit previously applied for the top post in earlier rounds but were not chosen.
Kittisak Sriprasert, the chief executive of state-run CAT Telecom, did not turn up to submit an application as widely expected for reasons unknown, said AoT sources.
AoT, 70% state-owned with annual turnover of 30 billion baht and a workforce of 4,000, has lacked a permanent chief executive since last November, when Anirut Thanomkulbutra was removed prematurely with no clear reason given.
A long-time AoT employee, Mr Anirut served only one year of a four-year term amid allegations that he neither followed the instructions of the board nor impressed the staff.
Two previous rounds of the search for a replacement were in vain, with the most recent seeing all four applicants rejected.
Like several other state enterprises, AoT is facing difficulty attracting high-calibre applicants for executive jobs, which are perceived as involving too much political meddling.
Mr Makin, who holds a bachelor's degree in engineering from Kasetsart University, was described by Thaicom officials as an up-and-coming executive at the company.
He was said to be instrumental in marketing Thaicom's satellite services in seven countries across Asia including Myanmar, where the company has a strong foothold.
Thaicom has put five satellites into orbit thus far, but only two are in operation.
A senior AoT executive, who asked to remain anonymous, said it is high time AoT had a chief executive, especially in light of emergencies such as last week's accident in which a THAI A330 skidded off the runway at Suvarnabhumi airport.
He said a chief executive with Mr Makin's engineering background will go a long way in leading AoT, with so much technicality involved and efficiency needed.
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Writer: Boonsong Kositchotethana & Komsan Tortermvasana