Two Thais, Roongchat Boonyarat and Tipa Nawawattanasub, have been ranked among the top 50 powerful businesswomen in Asia by Forbes Asia.
Roongchat, 28, is director and executive vice president for sales and marketing at Malee Sampran, a food and beverage business. She is a daughter of the company’s chairman and took up her post in August 2011 as part of an effort to bring in the next generation and modernise the firm. She has two older siblings, neither of whom works at Malee.
She has a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Bowdoin College in the US and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Sasin Business School at Chulalongkorn University. Her mother is a director at Malee, which is publicly listed.
Tipa, 33, is chief executive officer of YLG Bullion & Futures. She was groomed as a successor to her parents, who founded and run YLG Bullion International, Thailand’s biggest gold trader. YLG Bullion & Futures is its brokerage unit. Her brother heads up the Singapore office of YLG, which is mulling a listing in Thailand in the next three years.
Tipa has an MBA from the University of Kent in England and a master’s in political science from Ramkhamhaeng University in Thailand.
The 50 women who made the list were selected based on criteria such as company revenue, their position at the company, and their involvement in the running of daily operations.
Among those who honoured for their achievements and success are Karen Agustiawan, president director of Indonesia’s Pertamina; Eva Chen, co-founder and CEO of Japan’s Trend Micro; Ho Ching of Singapore’s Temasek Holdings; Sun Yafang, chairwoman of China’s Huawei Technologies; Gail Kelly, CEO of Australia’s Westpac Banking; Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, founder and chairwoman of India’s Biocon; Hong Kong’s gaming queen, Pansy Ho; Vietnam’s Mai Kieu Lien, who chairs Vinamilk; and Gina Rinehart, executive chairwoman of Australia’s Hancock Prospecting.
Singapore’s Chew Gek Khim is recognised on the list for her transformation of Straits Trading from a colonial-era tin smelter into a sleek 21st-century investment holding company.
There are 27 newcomers to this year’s list. Notable newcomers include Alison Watkins, who has risen to the top of Coca-Cola Amatil, becoming the second woman to head up a top-30 listed Australian company. Vinita Gupta, CEO of India’s Lupin, and Nansun Shi, a veteran movie producer who helped mould Hong Kong’s film industry, also made their debut this year.
The list also pays tribute to entrepreneurs such as Noriko Nakamura of Poppins in Japan and Australia’s retail queen Naomi Milgrom.
Other newcomers include Diane Foreman, founder and chairwoman of New Zealand’s Emerald Group; Nguyen Thi Nga, chairwoman of SeABank; Veronica Lukito, co-founder and CEO of Indonesia’s Ancora International; and Kathy Xu, founder and president of Capital Today.
Women from 13 countries are represented on the list. Those from China including Hong Kong again dominate this year’s list with 16, followed by India with seven. Singapore and Australia each have four women on this year’s list, while Indonesia, South Korea and Vietnam each have three. The Philippines, Japan, Thailand and Taiwan each have two women on the list. Malaysia and New Zealand each have one.
In addition to the top-50 list, 12 women in their late 20s and early 30s have been singled out as “Women to Watch”. Among these are Rita Nguyen, co-founder and CEO of Squar in Myanmar. Her background in mobile gaming and social networking is helping to fuel an Internet revolution just as the country builds out its third-generation cellular networks.
Other notable up-and-comers include Linda Suryasari Wijaya Limantara, managing director of Asia Pulp & Paper, and Winnie Chiu, president and executive director of Dorsett Hospitality International, who helps run her father David Chiu’s hotel and property empire.