CP Group pledges to strengthen governance

Corporate April 22, 2016 01:00

By BUSINESS DESK
THE NATION

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AMID calls from shareholders to suspend CP All CEO Korsak, group chief Dhanin vows measures to restore public trust in company.



THE CHIEF of the Charoen Pokphand Group of Companies has promised to raise the group’s corporate governance to meet international standards, seeking more time to fix recent mishaps that have rocked public trust in the giant business group. 
CP chairman Dhanin Chearavanont yesterday issued a statement outlining the group’s four initiatives. He affirmed a review into the governance practices of CP All and major listed subsidiaries. Independent and internationally respected accounting and law firms would be hired to conduct the deep review. 
Meanwhile, a group-level governance reform would be launched with his direct involvement and participation by independent Thai and international governance experts. He also promised more training for directors and senior employees.
The statement followed questions from shareholders of CP All at its annual meeting yesterday about the employment of chief executive officer Korsak Chairasmisak, who holds his post despite being punished for insider trading.
During the meeting, some shareholders urged the board to suspend Korsak for a year. 
Umroong Sanphasitvong, who chaired the shareholders’ meeting, said the board of directors resolved to give Korsak a second chance, as the mistake was unintentional. It is CP All’s culture to give the talented a chance, he added.
“The board has spent ample time reviewing this matter and we have thoroughly considered all aspects. We believe that the future of the company matters more,” he said. “We have learned a lesson and we would adhere to governance practices.”
Korsak himself extended an apology to shareholders. 
“I have to apologise to all that the punishment affects trust and credibility of the company. But I affirm here that I will adhere to CG [corporate governance] practices and restore public trust,” he said before leaving the meeting prematurely. 
Korsak has been a long-time employee of the company, being the driving force behind many success stories of the company that operates more than 8,000 7-Eleven convenience stores in Thailand. 
In the statement, Dhanin said the group did not expect to fix everything at once given the large and complex business structure. 
“Through the above initiatives, we aim to install world-class governance infrastructure and provide needed policy and guidelines. But I know that without a change of mindset and behaviour, the target of being best in class when it comes to corporate governance will remain an aspiration only. 
“What happened was an important lesson and I am confident that the measures outlined will bring about a serious and meaningful improvement to our organisation. Over time, we aim to establish ourselves as a leader in best governance practices, and in doing so earn the confidence, trust, and acceptance from our stakeholders domestically and overseas. 
At the meeting yesterday, CP All unveiled a plan to help strengthen Thai small and medium-sized enterprises. In 2015, it posted a 9.3-per-cent increase in revenue to Bt405.89 billion while net profit rose 34.1 per cent year on year to Bt13.68 billion. 

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