Pres­i­dent’s Re­marks

Thai-American Business (T-AB) Magazine - - Contents - Brad Mid­dle­ton Pres­i­dent

It was won­der­ful to see many of you at our year- end events, the Eg­gnog get- to­gether on De­cem­ber 8 and the Christ­mas lun­cheon on De­cem­ber 14. I am al­ways heart­ened by the strong sense of com­mu­nity within the AMCHAM fam­ily and the ded­i­ca­tion of our mem­bers and lead­er­ship to sup­port­ing the Cham­ber, col­lab­o­rat­ing, and driv­ing the Thai econ­omy fur­ther.

This has been a dif­fi­cult year that ended on a dev­as­tat­ing note with the pass­ing of our beloved King, His Majesty Bhu­mi­bol Adulyadej. The death of the King showed that the Thai peo­ple are united in their deter­mi­na­tion to fol­low in the foot­steps of the na­tion’s father, liv­ing sus­tain­ably and ex­tend­ing a help­ing hand to one an­other. The words and ac­tions of His Majesty will in­spire many gen­er­a­tions to come, and serve as a guid­ing light to­ward pros­per­ity for the King­dom.

Thai­land’s eco­nomic growth has re­mained steady at around 3% and the World Bank just in­creased its fore­cast for 2017 to 3.2% as a re­sult of the U. S. eco­nomic re­cov­ery. The gov­ern­ment has taken con­certed ef­forts to boost the econ­omy by de­vis­ing a strat­egy for Thai­land 4.0, cre­at­ing an in­vest­ment fund for star­tups and, in re­cent news, con­sid­er­ing lib­er­al­iz­ing more ser­vices for for­eign in­vest­ment in­clud­ing telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion, fi­nan­cial ser­vices, and those re­lated to in­no­va­tion and ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy.

AMCHAM’S 60TH AN­NIVER­SARY

For the Cham­ber, this was a mile­stone year as we cel­e­brated 60 years of AMCHAM in Thai­land. Rather than hav­ing one big event to cel­e­brate this mo­men­tous oc­ca­sion we de­cided to make all of our sig­na­ture events a lit­tle bit spe­cial to mark the an­niver­sary. We also de­signed a 60th an­niver­sary logo that we used to brand our ma­te­ri­als and events through­out 2016. A num­ber of long- stand­ing mem­bers, for­mer Board gov­er­nors and pres­i­dents, and prom­i­nent Thai and Amer­i­can pub­lic fig­ures spoke to us about what AMCHAM has meant to them and its en­dur­ing im­pact on Thai econ­omy and so­ci­ety, and we gath­ered those sentiments into a 60th an­niver­sary video that we show­cased at all ma­jor events. Last but not least, the an­nual AMCHAM CSR Ex­cel­lence Awards were made spe­cial by in­tro­duc­ing four new awards: the ‘ best in class’ award for both multi­na­tion­als and SMES, the U. S. Am­bas­sador’s Award, and the Suf­fi­ciency Econ­omy Award.

AD­VO­CACY EF­FORTS

AMCHAM con­tin­ues its ef­fort to ad­vo­cate for an im­proved and com­pet­i­tive busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment. In 2016 we pub­lished Roadmap for Growth: Pol­icy Rec­om­men­da­tions to Pro­mote Con­fi­dence, In­vest­ment, and Job Cre­ation in Thai­land, a high- level pol­icy brief out­lin­ing the path the King­dom needs to take to en­sure eco­nomic growth and pros­per­ity. This brief has been shared with key gov­ern­ment in­sti­tu­tions and de­ci­sion- mak­ers in an ef­fort to in­spire a di­a­logue be­tween the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor on mov­ing the coun­try for­ward.

AMCHAM also held a num­ber of events and meet­ings through­out 2016 with high- level rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Thai gov­ern­ment and pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions to both gain a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of gov­ern­ment poli­cies and pro­vide feed­back on how pro­posed changes might af­fect busi­ness. Some of the most no­table of­fi­cials AMCHAM in­ter­acted with were: the Min­is­ter of Tourism, Min­is­ter of Trans­port, Deputy Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion, Deputy Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of the Depart­ment of In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty, the Sec­re­tary Gen­eral of the Thai Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Com­mis­sion, and, most re­cently, the Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of the Cus­toms Depart­ment.

In order to con­sol­i­date ad­vo­cacy ef­forts and pro­vide even more lead­er­ship, a newly- hired Gov­ern­ment Af­fairs Di­rec­tor will join AMCHAM’S team in 2017.

MEM­BER­SHIP SER­VICES

The Cham­ber saw sim­i­lar lev­els of en­gage­ment and mem­ber par­tic­i­pa­tion in 2016 com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year. AMCHAM con­tin­ues to be one of the most dy­namic cham­bers in Thai­land with 266 events held this year with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of over 7,000 at­ten­dees. Here are some of the high­lights of the 2016 roundup:

• The num­ber of AMCHAM Thai­land mem­bers de­creased slightly com­pared to last year, but the to­tal num­ber of Cham­ber mem­bers in­creased due to an ever- grow­ing in­ter­est in the Myan­mar and Lao chap­ters. • Event at­ten­dance is hold­ing steady with close to 3,000 mem­bers at­tend­ing var­i­ous com­mit­tee meet­ings. In ad­di­tion, over 1,000 mem­bers were present for the monthly lun­cheons and the In­de­pen­dence Day Pic­nic saw an in­creased par­tic­i­pa­tion rate com­pared to last year. A fur­ther 450+ came out to wel­come the 2016 Board and cel­e­brate AMCHAM’S an­niver­sary at the an­nual Gov­er­nors Ball and a record 550 mem­bers at­tended the CSR award din­ner. • The Cor­po­rate Part­ner­ship pro­gram con­tin­ued to pro­vide strong sup­port to AMCHAM with 29 com­pa­nies par­tic­i­pat­ing in 2016 and 19 al­ready con­firmed for 2017. In ad­di­tion to pro­vid­ing steady sup­port to Cham­ber ac­tiv­i­ties, the Cor­po­rate Part­ner­ship pro­gram is an ex­cep­tional tool to in­crease your brand’s vis­i­bil­ity and pro­mote your ser­vices. If you are in­ter­ested in a one- step so­lu­tion to your mar­ket­ing and Cham­ber needs please con­tact the AMCHAM of­fice and sign up for the Cor­po­rate Part­ner­ship pro­gram.

CSR AND COM­MU­NITY SUP­PORT

In order to bet­ter re­flect the mis­sion of the AMCHAM foun­da­tion, in 2016 its name was changed from the AMCHAM Thai­land Char­i­ta­ble Foun­da­tion to The Amer­i­can Cham­ber Of Com­merce In Thai­land Foun­da­tion ( ATF). The Foun­da­tion has been sup­port­ing ed­u­ca­tion ini­tia­tives in Thai­land since 2004, but we do not see this sup­port as char­ity, but rather as an in­vest­ment in Thai­land’s future, so we wanted the name of the Foun­da­tion to echo those val­ues. At the same time, the Foun­da­tion’s logo was given a fresh, mod­ern makeover that il­lus­trates the co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the U. S and Thai­land.

Sixty- two com­pa­nies re­ceived this year’s AMCHAM CSR Ex­cel­lence recog­ni­tion and four were given spe­cial awards for de­sign­ing and im­ple­ment­ing CSR pro­grams that go above and be­yond in sup­port­ing their com­mu­ni­ties. You can read more about the awardees on page 30 and in the in­sert.

AMCHAM con­tin­ued its own com­mu­nity ini­tia­tives through the ATF. In 2016 we pro­vided schol­ar­ships to 200 de­serv­ing but un­der­priv­i­leged Thai uni­ver­sity stu­dents, matched Baht 1 mil­lion in do­na­tions to the Adopt- a- School pro­gram, and spon­sored 22 Amer­i­can English Teach­ing As­sis­tants ( ETAS) to im­prove the English­language ca­pa­bil­i­ties of Thai stu­dents. We also hosted a Ca­reer Camp for the grad­u­at­ing schol­ar­ship stu­dents to give them a leg up upon en­ter­ing the pro­fes­sional world. Fifty- five schol­ar­ship stu­dents from 20 uni­ver­si­ties around the coun­try con­verged in Bangkok to par­tic­i­pate in prac­ti­cal ac­tiv­i­ties de­signed to help them tran­si­tion from the world of academia to the cor­po­rate world. The stu­dents heard from ex­perts and pro­fes­sion­als who shared their per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences and paths and of­fered valu­able ad­vice, vis­ited com­pa­nies and in­sti­tu­tions re­lated to their fields of study, and sat through mock in­ter­views with HR pro­fes­sion­als who of­fered feed­back on their per­for­mance. I would like to thank Fedex for their con­tin­ued spon­sor­ship of the Ca­reer Camp and all AMCHAM mem­bers who took part in the event as vol­un­teers, guides, in­ter­view­ers, and men­tors to these bright young peo­ple.

BOARD AND COM­MIT­TEE LEAD­ER­SHIP

In 2017 the AMCHAM Board will wel­come the fol­low­ing new gov­er­nors: James Amata­vi­vad­hana of Mi­nor Re­tail Group, Wail Farghaly of GM/ Chevro­let, Vira- Anong Chi­ranakhorn Phutrakul of Citibank, Ornkanya Pibuld­ham of Bank of Amer­ica Mer­rill Lynch, and Steve Rich of Cater­pil­lar. Their di­verse back­grounds and ex­pe­ri­ences will con­trib­ute in de­vis­ing AMCHAM’S strate­gic path for 2017 and we look for­ward to hav­ing them on the Board. You can find the com­po­si­tion of the 2017 Board on page 10.

We un­for­tu­nately have to say good- bye to the fol­low­ing Board mem­bers whose terms ex­pired: Dar­ren Buckley of Citibank, Waewka­nee As­so­rat­goon of Yum Restau­rants, Dhanakorn Kasetr­suwan of LaZ- Boy, Joe Man­nix of United Air­lines, and David Nar­done of He­maraj. Their con­tri­bu­tion and sup­port has been in­valu­able and we will surely miss them on the Board, but we hope to see their con­tin­ued en­gage­ment with the Cham­ber through dif­fer­ent av­enues. Ad­di­tion­ally, we ex­tend our very best wishes to Joe Man­nix who is leav­ing Thai­land and United to en­joy his re­tire­ment with his fam­ily in the U. S.

One well- known face is re- join­ing the Board in 2017 and we are thrilled to have him back. Jeff Ny­gaard was re- elected to the Board af­ter a man­dated one- year break and was con­se­quently unan­i­mously elected to be Pres­i­dent of the Board in 2017. I have com­plete con­fi­dence trans­fer­ring this im­por­tant role to Jeff’s hands as his ex­pe­ri­ence and lead­er­ship were well- proven dur­ing his pre­vi­ous four years on the Board. You can read more about Jeff’s back­ground, in­ter­ests, lead­er­ship di­rec­tion, and pri­or­i­ties for the Cham­ber on page 12.

It has been an honor and a priv­i­lege to lead the Cham­ber in 2016. The suc­cess of AMCHAM is a re­sult of a col­lec­tive ef­fort though and I am grate­ful to all ac­tors who con­trib­ute to mak­ing it pos­si­ble: the Board of Gov­er­nors for pro­vid­ing di­rec­tion, AMCHAM staff for the flaw­less ex­e­cu­tion, com­mit­tee lead­ers for valu­able con­tent and pro­gram­ming, Cor­po­rate Part­ners for the much- needed sup­port, Am­bas­sador Glyn Davies and the U. S. Em­bassy for their co­op­er­a­tion, and all AMCHAM mem­bers who make AMCHAM the dy­namic, in­clu­sive, and en­gag­ing in­sti­tu­tion that it is.

I wish you a peace­ful and pros­per­ous New Year and hope to see you at the 2017 AMCHAM events.

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