Thai Airways president : “management was not really allowed to manage”

Let’s say grace… At last, a thai official dares to speak the truth… and even more striking… the president of Thai Airways dares to speak the truth about the national carrier !

Fasten your seatbelt. And look for your life jacket.

The newly appointed head of Thai Airways was in London on a global road show to gather investor support.

“The management had not really been allowed to manage the company,” Mr Piyasvasti said in an unusually frank interview.

“The company had been interfered heavily by the board, by the politicians. That had substantially weakened the management of the company, and our response to the crisis.”

He has been the airline’s president for just four weeks. Mr Piyasvasti said it had taken months of negotiations to secure a strong enough mandate for his new job.

On Monday, the state-owned carrier reported a net loss of $121m (£71.8m) for the July-to-September quarter.

The results were worse than analysts had expected. They forecast another loss in the fourth quarter, traditionally high season for tourism. […]

Mr Piyasvasti seems an unusual pick to run the national carrier. As a fund manager, he refused to own shares in the airline.

Thai Airways was a company which did not provide transparent information to investors,” he said.

“Thai Airways management were not able to provide clear directions or policy to investors. Most of the big funds, whether in Thailand or outside Thailand, stayed away from Thai Airways stocks.”
[…]
He said one of the most serious problems was nepotism and favouritism in promotions and in the awarding of contracts.

“When you promote people who have connections but no ability, initially it’s okay, but eventually it weakens the company, Mr Piyasvasti said.

“It reduces the quality of the work. That is what has happened to Thai Airways.” (BBC)

Indeed. A perfect diagnosis.

Let’s put it that way : this guy is a saint. Respect.

But on the other hand… we have to be honest : his chance of success are slim as the space between seats on Thai Airways aircrafts. 😉

That’s the fatal beauty of the whole story : like an airplane losing its engines… you see the ground coming fast. No exit way.

You might ask me : why do I write so often about Thai Airways ? Because of course the company makes the headlines… but also because it’s a perfect symbol of Thailand, it’s a perfect microcosm of what is wrong in this country.

Unfortunately.

Anyway. Best wishes to Piyasvasti. And again : respect.

6 Responses to “Thai Airways president : “management was not really allowed to manage””


  1. 1 Tarrin 19 November 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Well, admitting one own mistake is a good start for steps to correcting it, but I do agree with TC, the guy is in for a losing battle.

  2. 2 Marvo 19 November 2009 at 5:55 pm

    Thanks for this article TC, it really is priceless!

    Let’s see now… the newly appointed head of Thai Airways was in London on a global road show to gather investor support.

    And regarding potential investment in this company….

    “The results were worse than analysts had expected. They forecast another loss in the fourth quarter, traditionally high season for tourism.”

    [Mr Piyasvasti]as a fund manager, refused to own shares in the airline.

    “Thai Airways was a company which did not provide transparent information to investors,” he said.

    I wonder how he’s getting on on his “global roadshow” attracting much needed investors to the airline?

    Thai Air is not one of those “sensitive businesses” that the Board of Investment has agreed to cut down foreigners’ right to hold stakes in too, by any chance……?

  3. 3 Pricilla 19 November 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Yes, interesting to have a Thai dare to speak the truth. There again when he either gives up in disgust from making no headway or is sacked for upsetting some politicians useless offspring at least he has it on the record.

  4. 4 fall 19 November 2009 at 7:12 pm

    I saw the article a couple days ago and was wondering when you gonna pick it up.

    As they say, insanity is the minority of one. Thus, by speaking out the taboo, the guy is insane and a threat to national security. He must be re-educate to love Thai Airways, then shot in the head.

    Anyone want to make a bet how long the guy will last? (either being eject or quit)

  5. 5 ThaiCrisis 19 November 2009 at 7:21 pm

    I can “feel” you Fall … Someone should charge Thai Airways president for lese-majeste (threat to national security).
    😉
    More seriously : he can’t succeed.

    He can’t fire the hundred of cockroaches who benefit from the company, thanks to their connexions (politicians and army). And furthermore he can’t change the economy.

    There is no recovery in the airlines sector.

    To really change, Thai Airways would have to hit rock bottom (burn and rebuild) : we are not there yet.

  6. 6 Hom 10 December 2009 at 10:45 am

    Dr Piyasvasti is known to be painfully and brutally honest and has a hard line stance against corruption. He was the Minister for Energy and played a key role in privatising the energy industry(PTT and EGAT) and I think he made heaps for Kasikorn Bank before being appointed president of TG. He’s already started a whistle-blowing system. Educated at Oxford with First Class Honours in Mathematics and a Ph.d in Economics, the guy is very intellgient. He will be a great asset for TG despite the uphill battle he faces with the previous management. Respect to this guy.


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Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.


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