Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi (Thai: เจริญ สิริวัฒนภักดี) (born 2 May 1944) is Thailand's third richest entrepreneur, with a net worth of at least $USD. He is chairman of Fraser & Neave Ltd. He also owns famous tech-mall Pantip Plaza in Bangkok, Hotel Plaza Athenee in Manhattan, hotels in Asia, the United States and Australia, plus residential, commercial and retail buildings in Singapore and Thailand.
Like most of Thailand's tycoons, Charoen is ethnic Chinese. He is the sixth of 11 children of a poor street vendor who migrated to Bangkok from southern China. He left school early, at the age of nine, to work.
Charoen started supplying to distilleries producing the local Thai whiskey, which were a state-run monopoly at the time. Through the contacts he made, he acquired a licence to produce his own alcoholic drinks.
By the mid-1980s he was operating all the large state-owned distilleries, and controlled the entire market for inexpensive local spirits.
In 1991 Charoen teamed up with the Danish brewer Carlsberg to tap into Thailand's growing beer market, at the time dominated by the 60-year-old Boon Rawd Brewery which made Singha beer. Three years later, based on what he had learned from Carlsberg, he began making his own beer, branded Chang (Thai for 'elephant'). Within five years, Chang had captured 60% of the local market share. Completely eclipsed, in 2003 Carlsberg pulled out of the joint venture. Charoen then successfully sued the Danish company, winning $120m in 2005.
Early 2013, Charoen won a bidding war for Singapore's Fraser & Neave Ltd. which has properties throughout Asia as well as soft-drinks operations, with debt accounting for most of the $11.2 billion price tag. He received financing to back the deal, the largest merger-and-acquisition transaction introduced in Asia in 2012, from a group of banks including United Overseas Bank Ltd. of Singapore and DBS Bank Ltd. The total number of F&N shares owned by Charoen's group - TCC Assets and Thai Beverage - amounts to 1.19 billion, representing an approximate 82.59-per-cent stake, as of February 14.
His wife is Khunying Wanna.
He has five children. His son, Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi, is now the chief executive officer at ThaiBev and his daughter Wallapa is executive director of TCC Land, the property arm. His youngest son, Panote Sirivadhanabhakdi, is a member of the board executive committee of F&N.
His real name is Khun Charoen. In 1988 the King of Thailand granted the family the name “Sirivadhanabhakdi”.
Sirivadhanabhakdi has received various honors and Thai royal decorations such as:
- The Knight Grand Cordon (Special Class) of the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant
- The Knight Grand Cordon (First Class) of the Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand
- The Knight Commander (Second Class Lower Grade) of the Most Illustrious Order of Chula Chom Klao
- The Knight Grand Cross (First Class) of the Most Admirable Order of the Direkgunabhorn.
- an Honorary Doctoral Degree of Agricultural
- Business Administration from Maejo University
- Doctoral Degree in Management from Huachiew Chalermprakiet University
- Doctoral Degree in Business Administration from Eastern Asia University
- Doctoral of Philosophy in Business Administration from Mae Fah Luang University
- an Honorary Doctoral Degree of Industrial Technology from Chandrakasem Rajabhat University.
- Thai whiskey tycoon Charoen takes over Fraser and Neave
- Charoen appointed F&N chairman
- Top 10 richest Chinese in the world
- Thai Billionaire Already Winning in Tussle With Heineken: Retail
- Thailand's Charoen Heads Toward Takeover Fight
- Charoen puts youngest son on F&N board
- TCC website
- Executive Profile on Businessweek