Meet AMCHAM’S 2016 Board President, Brad Middleton
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.