THE NEWLY appointed chief executive officer of Charoen Pokphand Group, Suphachai Chearavanont, plans to transform the Thai conglomerate into “CP 4.0” by embracing innovation and the digital revolution.
The plan is in line with the government’s “Thailand 4.0” policy, which centres on using advanced technologies and innovations to add value to the economy and businesses.
Suphachai has said that his father, the tycoon Dhanin, told the group that it had to capitalise on innovations, robotics, logistics, and cloud and other digital technologies to strengthen its competitive edge, in line with global business trends.
Suphachai, who represents the third generation of the Chearavanont family business, has said he will consider enlisting members of the fourth generation of the family to help gear up all businesses in CP Group to the 4.0 era.
Among them is Tanit Chearavanont, the eldest son of Suphachai’s elder brother Soopakij. Tanit, 27, is in charge of Siam Makro subsidiary CP Wholesale India. The company will be officially launched in India this year.
Suphachai said CP Group would gradually announce the new business structure to drive its CP 4.0 strategy. However, he said he needed at least six months to finish setting his task priorities.
CP Group last month appointed Suphachai as CEO and Soopakij as group chairman. The group also appointed Dhanin, 77, as senior chairman. Earlier Dhanin was both CP CEO and chairman.
Suphachai, 49, became CP Group CEO at the same age his father became group CEO. Suphachai joined the group 10 years ago as director of its financial committee and remained in that position until 2015, when he was appointed vice chairman in charge of the sustainability policy.
He said CP Group’s annual revenue was now between US$40 billion and US$50 billion (Bt1.4 trillion to Bt1.7 trillion), with the money coming from domestic and international markets on an even basis.
The group’s businesses range from agro-industrial and food business to telecom, retail, automotive, and finance. Under Suphachai’s leadership, they will continue to create a greater synergy among them and a greater focus on research and development to enhance their competitive edge.
CP Group has hired a |global adviser, Pricewater-houseCoopers, to help develop its 10-year sustainable-growth plan.
Suphachai says he is aware that with his Chearavanont surname, people have high expectations of him. But he said he would unwaveringly pursue his goals and would always do his best in whatever positions he assumed.
He denied the perception of some people that CP Group dominated several business segments, especially the retail sector.
He added that one weak point of CP was that it was not good at clarifying negative reports to defend itself.
He said that in the provinces, there were only 4,500 branches of 7-Eleven convenience stores versus around 500,000 mom and pop shops.
He also said most consumer goods on 7-Eleven shelves were supplied by four multinational giants, not CP Group.
He said that the main competitors of the CP Group in all segments were foreign companies.
CP All is the operator of |7-Eleven convenience stores. There are around 9,000 7-Elevens across Thailand.