Korn Chatikavanij

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Korn Chatikavanij
กรณ์ จาติกวณิช
Korn Chatikavanij.jpg
Finance Minister of Thailand
In office
December 20,, 2008 – August 9, 2011
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva
Preceded by Suchart Thada-Thamrongvech
Succeeded by Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala
Personal details
Born (1964-02-19) February 19, 1964 (age 50)
London, England
Nationality Thai
Political party Democrat Party
Spouse(s) Vorakorn Chatikavanij[1]
Alma mater St John's College, Oxford
Profession Investment banker, Politician
Religion Buddhism

Korn Chatikavanij (Thai: กรณ์ จาติกวณิช, RTGS: Kon Chatikawanit, born February 19, 1964 in London) is a Thai Democrat Party politician and former investment banker. From 2008 to 2011, he was Finance Minister under Abhisit Vejjajiva and is Thailand's longest serving Minister of Finance since 2001.

Early life[edit]

Korn was born in Princess Beatrice Hospital, London, England, to Mr. Kraisri (Thai: ไกรศรี) and Mrs. Rumpa Chatikavanij (née Brahmopala). His father was Commissioner of the Customs Department, Commissioner of the Revenue Department, and Director of the Fiscal Policy Office. His grandfather, Phraya Athikarnprakat (Thai: พระยาอธิกรณ์ประกาศ), was Police Commissioner and a member of the Privy Council for King Prajadhipok (Rama 7). His uncle, Kasem (Thai: เกษม) Chatikavanij, was the founder of the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT).[2] The Chatikavanijs are an influential Thai-Hokkien family.[3][4]

Korn attended Somtavil and Satit Pathumwan Schools in Bangkok until the 6th grade, when he attended Winchester College boarding school in England. He read politics, philosophy and economics (PPE) at St. John's College, University of Oxford and graduated with honours.[5] While at St. John's College, he was a classmate of Abhisit Vejjajiva.[6]

Investment banker[edit]

Korn worked in asset management at SG Warburg while a student and joined the firm after his graduation. He left Warburg and returned to Thailand in 1988, founding J.F. Thanakorn, a joint venture between Jardine Flemings and Finance One. JF Thakakom became the Kingdom's largest brokerage by 1995-6 and became the first Thai investment bank to manage a public takeover, as well as the first to lead manage a Euro-convertible for a Thai firm, with Korn at the helm. In 1999, JF Thanakom was sold to JP Morgan (later JP MorganChase). Korn stayed on as Senior Country Officer.

2005-2006 Thai political crisis and the 2006 coup[edit]

Korn left JP Morgan in October 2004, joined the Democrat Party to run for office, and subsequently went on to win a seat in Bangkok’s 2nd constituency (Sathorn – Yannawa) in the general elections of February 2005. After the defeat of the Democrat Party, Abhisit Vejjajiva replaced Banyat Banthadthan as Democrat Party leader. Korn was appointed Deputy Secretary General and Secretary for Economic Affairs of the Party. He became a vocal member of the opposition to the government of Thaksin Shinawatra during the 2005-2006 Thai political crisis. During the same period, Korn played a major role in examining the economic policies of Thaksin's government including the Shin Corporation Deal Scandal.

On the night of September 19, 2006, the Thaksin government was overthrown by 2006 coup. Korn expressed his opinion that he was "sad" and felt that it was "understandable for any democracy to denounce coups as a concept in general", however he felt that the coup had to be examined "within the context of the Thai political situation."[7] Korn was reelected in the post-coup 2007 elections, but the Democrat Party remained in the Opposition after losing to the People's Power Party. During both Samak Sundaravej and Somchai Wongsawat's brief terms as Prime Minister, Korn served as Shadow Finance Minister for the Democrat Party.

2008-2011 Member of Abhisit government[edit]

On December 2, 2008, the Constitutional Court dissolved the People's Power Party.[8] Abhisit Vejjajiva was subsequently appointed as Prime Minister after a parliamentary vote. Korn was appointed Finance Minister in the Abhisit administration in December 2009.

Korn's significant achievements as Minister of Finance include: a 117-billion-baht stimulus package initiated in January 2009 and a second stimulus package(Thai: แผนปฎิบัติการไทยเข้มแข็ง), valued over 1.4 trillion baht over 2010 - 2012. Most of the funds was spent in improving infrastructure in Thailand especially in the area of irrigation and transportation, public health, education and tourism.

Korn also focused on policies that helped addressed social inequality and poverty such as pushing through the draft bill on land and building tax (property tax) in the Thai cabinet in April 2010 a part of an ambitious plan to overhaul the country’s tax structure as the first step toward achieving a balanced budget.[9]

Additionally, Korn helped refinanced loan-shark debt for over 500,000 individuals, many of whom were being charged more than 100% p.a. on interest for their loans.[10][11]

In January 2010, Korn was awarded "Finance Minister of the Year 2010" for both global and Asia Pacific regions by the Banker magazine of the Financial Times. The magazine complimented the Thai minister on his "financial management skills as he assumed the finance minister position of Thailand amid the economic stagnation. In addition, he was given credits for his contributions to promote and enhance financial and economic cooperation in Asean." Korn is the only Thai to have received both awards.[12][13]

In 2010, given that Thailand had recorded impressive economic recovery despite its political turmoil, Korn was also considered for Euromoney magazine's Finance Minister of the Year award. However, that year the prize was given to Alexei Kudrin for his role in enabling Russia to pay off its foreign debt early.

As then Chair of the ASEAN Finance Ministers' meetings in 2009, Korn was also credited for helping with the creation of the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM), a regional foreign reserve pool in case of currency flow shortage.

After the Democrats were defeated in the 2011 election, Korn's term as finance minister ended and he subsequently took on the role of Shadow Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs in Abhisit Vejjajiva's shadow cabinet, he was replaced by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) economist Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala.

In May 2011, the editorial pages of both the Japan Times and the South China Morning Post mentioned Korn as a possible candidate to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn as head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for "his deep understanding of financial markets". Moreover, it was mentioned that the position should not be limited to candidates exclusively from the US and the European Union, as there were many good personalities from Africa, Asia and Latin America. [14]

Korn did not accept any position with the IMF but instead continued his work with the Democrat Party.

2014- Present Post Coup Activities[edit]

Prior to the military coup of May 22nd, 2014 Korn took charge as the Chair of the Democrat Party's Policy Unit, a position which he still holds today. In his capacity as the Chair of the Policy Unit, Korn helped transform the Party's platform to become more research oriented and issue based. The main focus of his research centred around the topics of (i) education reform, (ii) enhancing irrigation technology to increase crop yield, and (iii) increasing value for agricultural products. [15]

Korn has travelled extensively within Asia to advocate for a reorganization and rebalance of multilateral institutions to reflect the shift in economic power away from North America and Europe and towards Asia. In his much talked-about opinion piece to the Nikkei Asian Review, Korn writes: "Clear double standards in how Western institutions treat those outside their "club" have drawn a significant response from developing countries. Asean, with the cooperation of China, Japan and South Korea, managed in 2010 to create a foreign exchange reserves pool named the Chiang Mai Initiative -- a multilateral currency swap mechanism aimed at preventing a repeat of the Asian Financial Crisis, when they were forced to kowtow to unsympathetic multilateral institutions." [16]

In August 2014, Korn established 'Kaset Khem Kaeng" - a non-profit with a mission to help small farmers practice sustainable farming and receive fair compensation for their produce. The project started as a joint venture between the company and one small village in Mahasarakham province, which is one of the poorest provinces in Thailand. The company was able to successfully buy chemical-free Jasmine rice from farmers at 20,000 - 25,000 baht per ton compared to the market rate of only 8,000 baht per ton. [17]


References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.thailandobservers.com/korn-chatikavanij-thailand%E2%80%99s-finance-minister/
  2. ^ ความรู้เรื่องโรคมะเร็ง สำหรับประชาชน (พิมพ์แจกในงานพระราชทานเพลิงศพ พล.ต.ท.พระยาอธิกรณประกาศ ณ เมรุวัดเทพศิรินทราวาส 9 พฤษภาคม 2498)
  3. ^ http://ajarncharlie.blogspot.ca/2010/10/little-gem-in-bangkoks-chinatown.html
  4. ^ "A beautiful family history". Bangkok Post. [dead link]
  5. ^ About Korn
  6. ^ "Senior minister in Thai protests". The Australian. December 22, 2008. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved December 24, 2008. 
  7. ^ Tony Jones (September 20, 2006). "Tony Jones speaks with Korn Chatikavanij". ABC. Archived from the original on January 16, 2010. Retrieved December 24, 2008. 
  8. ^ "Thai premier banned from politics, ruling party dissolved: court". Google News. AFP. December 1, 2008. Archived from the original on April 21, 2009. Retrieved July 31, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Keynote Speech: "Towards the Enhancement of an Open Economic Partnership" by H.E. Mr. Korn Chatikavanij, Finance Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand at 16th Nikkei International Conference on "The Future of Asia" on 21 May 2010, Tokyo". Retrieved December 19, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Anti-loan shark bank approved". The Nation. December 8, 2010. Archived from the original on December 10, 2010. Retrieved December 19, 2011. 
  11. ^ Sullivan, Boris (December 8, 2010). "Thailand Post Anti loan-shark bank to start early 2011". Thailand Business News. Archived from the original on October 12, 2011. Retrieved December 19, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Korn awarded finance minister of the year, Global and Asia-Pacific". The Nation. January 14, 2010. Archived from the original on August 6, 2011. Retrieved December 19, 2011. 
  13. ^ Szep, Jason (February 22, 2010). "In Thailand, world's top finance minister stands tall". Reuters. Archived from the original on June 18, 2012. Retrieved December 19, 2011. 
  14. ^ Rafferty, Kevin (May 19, 2011). 18, 2012 "Top vacancy looms in IMF". Japan Times. 
  15. ^ Chantanusornsiri, Wichit (December 1, 2014). "Rise of the Patrician Farmer". Bangkok Post. Retrieved December 19, 2014. 
  16. ^ Chatikavanij, Korn (August 4, 2014). "Southeast Asia and Thailand need passion and speed". Nikkei Asian Review. Retrieved December 19, 2014. 
  17. ^ Chatikavanij, Korn (December 8, 2014). "Big Changes Begin Down on the Farm". Bangkok Post. Retrieved December 19, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Suchart Thada-Thamrongvech
Minister of Finance
2008–2011
Succeeded by
Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala