Job-hop­ping all the way to the top

Ni­tid Manoon­porn’s long and wind­ing road has in­cluded tak­ing the helm at two dif­fer­ent state en­ter­prises.

Bangkok Post - - BUSINESS - By Wi­chit Chan­tanu­sorn­siri and Oranan Paweewun

Ni­tidManoon­porn, pres­i­dent of state-owned Thai Credit Guar­an­tee Cor­po­ra­tion (TCG), is a man of con­trasts. He lives a sim­ple life but aims for the top rung of the ca­reer lad­der. He likes to keep a low pro­file, cook­ing and gar­den­ing at home, but his post re­quires con­nec­tions. At mid­dle age he was keen to make a for­tune, yet later he turned to­wards suf­fi­ciency prin­ci­ples.

And while he is ap­proach­ing re­tire­ment age, he still hopes for another job of­fer af­ter his four-year term at TCG ends in 2020.

“I’m 56 and on my 11th job,” he says. “I have my own work­ing roadmap. My goal is be­com­ing suc­cess­ful in my ca­reer by climb­ing to the top. Job-hop­ping is a key to suc­cess.”

Mr Ni­tid started work­ing at Bangkok Bank af­ter he earned a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in ac­coun­tancy from Chu­la­longkorn Univer­sity in 3½ years.

Af­ter four years of at­tempts to work at the Bank of Thai­land, he fi­nally got on in the bank­ing su­per­vi­sion depart­ment be­fore be­ing trans­ferred to the Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Com­mis­sion (SEC) shortly af­ter the stock reg­u­la­tor was set up more than 20 years ago.

At the SEC, he made twice his Bank of Thai­land salary. But he re­signed af­ter three years to join Kasikorn As­set Man­age­ment, later mov­ing to TMB As­set Man­age­ment.

“Some­one asked me why I quit the Bank of Thai­land job, and my an­swer was I wanted to make money,” Mr Ni­tid says. “At the SEC, I got a com­pli­ance job that was in de­mand by as­set man­age­ment com­pa­nies and they later ap­proached me. I was not born with a sil­ver spoon in my mouth, but I wanted to have a fam­ily.”

In 2009, his dream of be­com­ing top man­age­ment came true when he was ap­pointed di­rec­tor of the Of­fice of the Gov­ern­ment Pawn­shop. Mr Ni­tid’s chal­leng­ing task at the state en­ter­prise was ad­dress­ing a liq­uid­ity crunch when gold prices plum­meted in April 2013.

“At that time, all those who pledged gold at our pawn­shops did not re­deem when the pledge ex­pired, as the value of the pledge was higher than the mar­ket price and this tight­ened

I live a sim­ple life. I don’t spend lav­ishly, I can live at tem­ple, and I don’t drink al­co­hol or smoke. NI­TID MANOON­PORN PRES­I­DENT OF THAI CREDIT GUAR­AN­TEE COR­PO­RA­TION

our fi­nan­cial liq­uid­ity,” he re­calls. “When gold prices slid in April 2013, we lost 2,000 baht for ev­ery bahtweight of gold and 1 bil­lion baht in to­tal.”

Mr Ni­tid then de­cided to let the gov­ern­ment’s pawn­shops sell jew­ellery whose pledge con­tracts had ex­pired to off­set losses from the gold slump and boost liq­uid­ity. He scrapped tra­di­tional transfers via teller coun­ters at more than 30 gov­ern­ment pawn­shops, re­plac­ing them with on­line money transfers to de­liver cash more quickly.

As tax­ing as the pawn­shop di­rec­tor­ship was, Mr Ni­tid says the pres­i­dency of TCG is the tough­est task he has faced in his life. The state-owned credit guar­an­tor for small and medium-sized en­ter­prises (SMEs) has bud­get con­straints that make cov­er­age for non-per­form­ing loans dif­fi­cult.

“TCG heav­ily re­lies on [other banks] and still can­not achieve this task by it­self,” he says. “What I want to do is make TCG more self-re­liant.”

He plans to take ad­van­tage of so­cial me­dia such as Line and Face­book to raise SME aware­ness of credit guar­an­tee ser­vice.

“Peo­ple barely know TCG, so we need to work in an ag­gres­sive way,” Mr Ni­tid says. “Cus­tomers go to banks now and they are sent to us. In the fu­ture, we must make SMEs con­tact us be­fore they go to the bank to ap­ply for a loan.

“This is a chal­leng­ing tar­get. We’ll cre­ate a cus­tomer base with banks so that we no longer have to wait for a credit guar­an­tee amount from banks. We will work ag­gres­sively by get­ting in di­rect con­tact with SMEs.”

Mr Ni­tid’s track record is a point of pride. “It’s a rare phe­nom­e­non for a per­son to be chief of two state en­ter­prises,” he says. “Typ­i­cally we see a per­son be­come the top ex­ec­u­tive twice at the same state en­ter­prise.”

His grand­fa­ther’s in­struc­tions to stand on one’s own feet have moulded his life and mo­ti­vated him to work hard to achieve goals. With his par­ents liv­ing in Chai Nat prov­ince at the time, he pur­sued his high school ed­u­ca­tion in Bangkok by liv­ing with a cousin.

His life was far from smooth, as he failed the univer­sity en­trance exam for med­i­cal school. In­stead he stud­ied at the Fac­ulty of Com­merce and Ac­coun­tancy at Chu­la­longkorn.

“I wished to study abroad, but my par­ents could not af­ford it be­cause they have five chil­dren,” Mr Ni­tid says. He chose to host for­eign ex­change stu­dents un­der the AFS In­ter­cul­ture pro­gramme to learn English from them.

He boldly ap­plied for the top TCG job de­spite lack­ing any rec­om­men­da­tions.

“There were four can­di­dates for the TCG pres­i­dent po­si­tion,” he says. “Ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports, I was not one among the front-run­ners, but I, af­ter my pre­sen­ta­tion, was con­fi­dent that I would get the job be­cause I have a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Sev­eral peo­ple ques­tioned why he had made so many moves, but Mr Ni­tid con­sid­ered job-hop­ping use­ful for gain­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and get­ting to know many peo­ple.

“My work ex­pe­ri­ence at the Bank of Thai­land and the SEC helped off­set the weak point of be­ing a job-hop­per,” he says. “Be­ing num­ber one means hav­ing skills to man­age sub­or­di­nates and de­liver work per­for­mance. One must strike a bal­ance of both work­force man­age­ment and work per­for­mance.”

Although he has ad­vanced up the ca­reer lad­der over a work­ing life­time, Mr Ni­tid’s low point came with the stock mar­ket’s crash dur­ing the 1997 fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

“Dur­ing the hey­day of the stock mar­ket, I bought a BMW car and spent lav­ishly,” he says. “I bought stocks on mar­gin, and when the stock mar­ket col­lapsed I lost al­most all of my wealth. Af­ter that, my think­ing changed. I quit di­rect trad­ing in the stock mar­ket and I’ve no longer thought about amass­ing wealth.

“My kids can earn a liv­ing. What I think about now is work­ing at the top job and liv­ing hon­ourably. The Fi­nance Min­istry re­cently told the chiefs of all state en­ter­prises to par­tic­i­pate in the royal cre­ma­tion cer­e­mony for the late King Bhu­mi­bol Adulyadej on Oct 26, I wouldn’t get such chance if I were not head of TCG.”

Mr Ni­tid says he aims to seek another job once his term at TCG nears its end in late 2019. He plans to re­tire at 65.

“I live a sim­ple life,” he says. “I don’t spend lav­ishly, I can live at tem­ple, and I don’t drink al­co­hol or smoke.”


As pres­i­dent of Thai Credit Guar­an­tee Cor­po­ra­tion, Mr Ni­tid is in his 11th job.

Mr Ni­tid plans to take ad­van­tage of so­cial me­dia to raise aware­ness of TCG’s ser­vices.

RIGHT Mr Ni­tid and his son en­joy cy­cling.

FAR RIGHT Gar­den­ing is a re­lax­ing hobby for Mr Ni­tid.

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