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.
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.