Meet AMCHAM’S 2016 Board Pres­i­dent, Brad Mid­dle­ton

Thai-American Business (T-AB) Magazine - - Front Page -

Brad Mid­dle­ton is Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Chevron’s Asia South Busi­ness Unit, a po­si­tion he as­sumed in Jan­uary 2014. He is re­spon­si­ble for up­stream op­er­a­tions in four coun­tries: Bangladesh, China, Myan­mar, and Thai­land.

Over his ca­reer with Chevron, Brad has held a num­ber of lead­er­ship po­si­tions of in­creas­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity and scope across the world. Prior to as­sum­ing his cur­rent po­si­tion, he was Gen­eral Man­ager, Pro­duc­tion Op­er­a­tions at Ten­giz in Atyrau, Kaza­khstan. He has served as the Gen­eral Man­ager of Cor­po­rate Strate­gic Plan­ning and Gen­eral Man­ager of Up­stream Or­ga­ni­za­tional Ca­pa­bil­ity. Brad has also held a num­ber of op­er­a­tional lead­er­ship po­si­tions in Thai­land, Nige­ria, In­done­sia, the United King­dom, and the United States. He is mar­ried with three chil­dren.

Brad joined AMCHAM’S Board of Gov­er­nors in 2014 and has been tak­ing on pro­gres­sively re­spon­si­ble po­si­tions within the Board struc­ture since, serv­ing as a Vice Pres­i­dent in 2015 and be­ing unan­i­mously voted in as Pres­i­dent for 2016. Be­fore he as­sumes this po­si­tion, we sat down with Brad to ask him about his out­look on the Thai econ­omy, the role of Amer­i­can busi­ness, and in which di­rec­tion he wants to take the Cham­ber dur­ing his ten­ure.

De­scribe the jour­ney that brought you to Chevron Thai­land and AMCHAM.

I have worked for Chevron for 30 years, spend­ing most of my ca­reer as an ex­pat work­ing out­side the United States. Two years ago, my wife, Lisa, and I moved to Bangkok from Kaza­khstan. Upon our ar­rival, I im­me­di­ately joined the AMCHAM Board. I have en­joyed my first two years on the Board and look for­ward to serv­ing the Cham­ber as Pres­i­dent in 2016.

Chevron has been op­er­at­ing in Thai­land for 52 years and has in­vested siz­ably into its ex­panded pres­ence here and the Thai econ­omy and so­ci­ety. What is the bedrock of Chevron’s con­tin­ued con­fi­dence in Thai­land?

Chevron’s his­tory in Thai­land can be traced back to the early 1960s, when the Royal Thai Govern­ment de­cided to bring in for­eign in­vestors to help grow Thai­land’s do­mes­tic pe­tro­leum ex­plo­ration and pro­duc­tion in­dus­try. Our pres­ence in Thai­land has been made pos­si­ble be­cause of govern­ment poli­cies that sup­port for­eign in­vest­ment and free trade.

I be­lieve For­eign Di­rect In­vest­ment ( FDI) has been one of the keys to Thai­land’s

eco­nomic growth over the last five decades. FDI not only brings much needed in­vest­ment into the Thai econ­omy, but it also brings in tech­nol­ogy to strengthen the coun­try’s com­pet­i­tive­ness.

What is your im­pres­sion of the cur­rent busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment in Thai­land? Do you fore­see any ma­jor changes in Thai­land’s near fu­ture from an eco­nomic and com­mer­cial per­spec­tive? How would the ASEAN Eco­nomic Com­mu­nity and the Trans- Pa­cific Part­ner­ship im­pact Thai­land’s com­pet­i­tive­ness?

Al­though Thai­land con­tin­ues to be an at­trac­tive coun­try for U. S. com­pa­nies to do busi­ness, the open­ing up of mar­kets in neigh­bor­ing coun­tries and the grow­ing im­por­tance of ASEAN and the up­com­ing ASEAN Eco­nomic Com­mu­nity ( AEC) is chang­ing the global eco­nomic land­scape. Thai­land will have to con­tinue to do more to re­main com­pet­i­tive.

Con­nec­tiv­ity is now a ‘ buzz word’ in all ASEAN coun­tries. I be­lieve that the es­tab­lish­ment of the AEC has and will con­tinue to en­hance ASEAN’S grow­ing sig­nif­i­cance in the world econ­omy.

The Trans- Pa­cific Part­ner­ship ( TPP) also has the po­ten­tial to sig­nif­i­cantly trans­form trade and in­vest­ment flows in the re­gion. While we are still learn­ing what the TPP stip­u­lates, I be­lieve that what is im­por­tant at the end of the day is to sup­port free mar­kets and the lib­er­al­iza­tion of trade. His­tor­i­cally this open­ness to the world has been a key to Thai­land’s suc­cess and I think it also holds the key to its fu­ture suc­cess.

How do you see the role and im­pact of Amer­i­can busi­ness in Thai­land?

U. S. com­pa­nies are among the most com­pet­i­tive and in­no­va­tive com­pa­nies in the world. We are rec­og­nized for our high stan­dards of busi­ness con­duct and prin­ci­ples of good cor­po­rate cit­i­zen­ship wher­ever we op­er­ate and do busi­ness.

Here in Thai­land, Amer­i­can com­pa­nies have in­vested over USD 50 bil­lion in the lo­cal econ­omy and are re­spon­si­ble for pro­vid­ing high- pay­ing and sta­ble jobs for over 250,000 Thais. That is a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to Thai­land’s pros­per­ity.

I see great po­ten­tial for Thai- U. S. re­la­tion­ships to con­tinue to flour­ish. Over the years, not only has Amer­i­can busi­nesses in Thai­land strength­ened busi­ness-to­busi­ness and busi­ness- to- govern­ment re­la­tions, but, just as im­por­tantly, our pres­ence here has strength­ened the peo­ple- to- peo­ple ties be­tween Thais and Amer­i­cans.

I am con­fi­dent that Amer­i­can busi­ness can con­tinue to play an ac­tive role to sup­port Thai­land’s eco­nomic growth and com­pet­i­tive­ness by con­tribut­ing tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise and ex­pe­ri­ence and high stan­dards of busi­ness prac­tice.

Why did you feel it was im­por­tant to be­come an ac­tive mem­ber in, and ul­ti­mately the Pres­i­dent of, AMCHAM Thai­land?

I am honored to have the op­por­tu­nity to serve as Pres­i­dent of AMCHAM Thai­land. I strongly sup­port AMCHAM Thai­land’s ef­forts to pro­mote U. S. busi­ness in­ter­ests by strength­en­ing the part­ner­ship be­tween Thai­land and the U. S. on all lev­els, and ad­vo­cat­ing for im­prove­ment to the busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment.

From my ex­pe­ri­ence with Amchams around the world ( in­clud­ing here in Thai­land), the Cham­ber has an im­por­tant role to play in bring­ing to­gether lead­ing U. S. and in­ter­na­tional busi­ness lead­ers to fa­cil­i­tate busi­ness con­tacts and in pro­vid­ing a plat­form that helps us share our ex­pe­ri­ences and in­crease our un­der­stand­ing of how to nav­i­gate some of the chal­lenges that come with op­er­at­ing out­side of the U. S.

I would also like to say that as a long­time mem­ber of the Cham­ber, we have al­ways re­ceived great sup­port from the very ca­pa­ble and help­ful AMCHAM staff.

You will be head­ing AMCHAM dur­ing its 60th an­niver­sary year. In which di­rec­tion would you like to take the Cham­ber? Are there any par­tic­u­lar ini­tia­tives you would like to see take place? What do you see as AMCHAM’S big­gest ac­com­plish­ments to date?

The 60th an­niver­sary is a great mile­stone! First, I want to con­grat­u­late and rec­og­nize AMCHAM for the suc­cess it has achieved to date. I think that the real legacy of 60 years of AMCHAM is the strong peo­ple- to- peo­ple con­nec­tions that have been fos­tered by the Cham­ber.

As Pres­i­dent, I will be happy to pro­vide any sup­port I can for the Cham­ber to con­tinue to foster ties be­tween Thai­land and the United States through trade and in­vest­ment and help pro­mote the U. S. busi­ness in­ter­ests and part­ner­ships in Thai­land, not only through busi­ness- to­busi­ness but also through strong and long- last­ing peo­ple- to- peo­ple con­nec­tions.

I per­son­ally am quite pas­sion­ate about some­thing that I think is a strength for many Amer­i­can busi­nesses, and that is our com­mit­ment to Cor­po­rate So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity ( CSR).

For more than three decades, AMCHAM mem­bers and the AMCHAM Thai­land Char­i­ta­ble Foun­da­tion have done a great job demon­strat­ing our com­mit­ment to Thai­land be­yond stim­u­lat­ing the econ­omy, but also en­rich­ing peo­ples’ lives through a range of education, civil, and so­cial ser­vices projects. This is one area of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est to me.

When you are not helm­ing one of Thai­land’s big­gest for­eign in­vestors and one of Thai­land’s most dy­namic for­eign cham­bers, how do you spend your free time? What are your fa­vorite spots in Bangkok and places in Thai­land?

In my spare time, I en­joy golf, ex­er­cise and sail­ing. It is hard to pick a fa­vorite spot in Thai­land, as there are so many won­der­ful places in this beau­ti­ful coun­try, but I re­ally en­joy camp­ing in the Khao Yai Na­tional Park. The jun­gle is truly beau­ti­ful.

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