Somkid Jatusripitak (Thai: สมคิด จาตุศรีพิทักษ์, born 15 July 1953), Chinese: 曾汉光, Thai politician, is a former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce of Thailand. He was a leader and cofounder of the populist Thai Rak Thai party. His wife, Anurachanee Jatusripitak, teaches at Chulalongkorn University. He has three children.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Education and academic career
- 3 Business career
- 4 Entry into politics
- 5 Finance and Commerce Minister Under the Thaksin Government
- 6 Aftermath of the 2006 coup
- 7 Notes
Somkid was born in Bangkok and grew up in a large Chinese (Teochew)-Thai family, one of 10 children. His great-great grandfather immigrated from China during the reign of Emperor Jiaqing. One of his older brothers, Som Jatusripitak later became president of Siam City Bank and Commerce Minister in Chavalit Yongchaiyudh's government.
Education and academic career
Somkid graduated with a Bachelor's Degree from the Faculty of Economics, Thammasat University in 1972. Later, He completed an MBA in Finance from the Graduate School of Business Administration or NIDA Business School, National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) and a Ph.D. in marketing from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
After graduating, he joined a teaching position and became Associate Professor in Marketing at Graduate School of Business Administration or NIDA Business School, National Institute of Development Administration or NIDA . He also served as an Associate Dean at NIDA Business School. Somkid's thinking was greatly influenced by Michael Porter's "Competitiveness of Nations". He focused much of his academic research on the development of national and business competitiveness. Along with his mentor Philip Kotler, he was a strong supporter of the concept of Nation Branding. In 1997, Somkid co-authored "The Marketing of Nations: A Strategic Approach to Building National Wealth" with Philip Kotler. The book outlined how countries could improve their competitiveness through marketing and appropriate policies to support it. Somkid's book, "Thailand Inc: Concepts and Strategy", stressed how Thailand should use marketing to improve its competitiveness.
Somkid was a co-founder of the Manager Media Group, along with Sondhi Limthongkul. He played a role in the establishment of the Phatra Research Institute. He became a Director of the Saha Pattanapibul Group, a major Thai consumer goods conglomerate. He was appointed to become Advisor of the Stock Exchange of Thailand, Director of PTTEP, and Director of the Petroleum Authority of Thailand.
Entry into politics
Advisor to Foreign Minister Thaksin Shinawatra
Somkid became secretary to Foreign Minister Thaksin Shinawatra under Banharn Silpa-Archa's government.
Advisor to Finance Minister Thanong Bidaya
Somkid became secretary to Finance Minister Thanong Bidaya under Chavalit Yongchaiyudh's government.
Founding of the Thai Rak Thai Party
Somkid was one of the co-founders of the Thai Rak Thai party in 1998, along with party leader Thaksin Shinawatra. His senior stature in the party was apparent from his no. 3 position in the TRT's 2001 election party list, behind Thaksin Shinawatra and Purachai Piemsomboon.
Somkid has been called "the man behind Thaksinomics", and was the mastermind of the populist policies that helped propel the Thai Rak Thai party to a landslide election victory in 2001. The TRT "won by embracing populism on a grand scale," said the Far Eastern Economic Review. Somkid's chief policy innovations included the universal healthcare program, 1 million THB development funds for each of Thailand's 70,000 villages, a 3-year loan freeze for farmers, fast-track privatization of state enterprises, and a national asset management corporation (AMC) to buy up the $20 billion in bad debt carried by Thai banks.
Somkid also pioneered the TRT party's rural small and medium enterprise (SME) policy. Noting that agriculture remains the most important economic sector, employing 60-70% of the Thai population, the economic challenge was to develop the agricultural sector and link it with the modern sector. This became one of the founding principles of the Thaksin government's popular One Tambon One Product (OTOP) program.
At the time, The Nation newspaper exclaimed that these policies "amount to a revolution in Thai public policy".
Finance and Commerce Minister Under the Thaksin Government
From the TRT's landslide election win of 2001, Somkid was a core member of Thakin's economic inner cabinet - starting off as Finance Minister and then becoming Commerce Minister.
In his term as Finance Minister, Somkid
- Oversaw a management reshuffle at state-owned Thai Airways International
- Led the establishment of the national asset management corporation (AMC)
- Supported the controversial restructuring of Prachai Leophai-ratana's Thai Petrochemical Industry (TPI)
- In 2002, Somkid established the village fund program. This program gave each of Thailand's 70,000 villages a self-managed fund of 1 million THB (approx. 25,000 USD), to be used for grassroots social and economic investments.
In his term as Commerce Minister, Somkid
- Oversaw the recovery of tourism industry in the Andaman coast after the tsunami of 2004
- Agreed to draw up a comprehensive road map for increasing trade, investment and cooperation with the UK
- Boosted Board of Investment incentives in three target sectors - electronics, petrochemicals and vehicle tyres
During the anti-Thaksin demonstrations of 2005-2006, Thaksin noted that Somkid was one of four individuals who might become Prime Minister if Thaksin stepped down.
After Thaksin Shinawatra's announcement that he would not accept the Premiership from Parliament after the April 2006 elections, Somkid was widely seen as a potential replacement. In a poll of businessmen, 57% said Somkid was the most suitable candidate for new premier. The next highest TRT politician was Bhokin Bhalakula, who received only 12%. Soon later, a broad coalition of TRT factions, including Wang Nam Yom (130 MPs), Rim Nam (15 MPs), Lamtakong (7 MPs), Wang Phya Nag (10 MPs), Chon Buri (7 MPs) and the Central provinces (10 MPs) decided to push for Somkid Jatusripitak as the next prime minister.
Aftermath of the 2006 coup
The Thai military staged a successful coup against the Thaksin government on 19 September 2006. At the time, Somkid was in Paris, attending the Thai-France Cultural Exhibition with Princess Sirindhorn and Foreign Minister Kantathi Supamongkhon. On 21 September 2006 arrived back to Bangkok. Unlike several other senior members of Thaksin's Cabinet, he was not arrested by the junta. Somkid kept a low profile, until on 2 October 2006 he resigned from the Thai Rak Thai Party, along with Thaksin Shinawatra.
He continued to lead a low profile, until in February 2007, he was appointed head of a government committee charged with "preaching" King Bhumibol's self-sufficient economy policy. The appointment provoked great controversy, as critics claimed that the populist economics czar had no role promoting self-sufficiency. Somkid appointment was supported by General Saprang Kalyanamitr, a powerful member of the junta, and Sondhi Limthongkul of the People's Alliance for Democracy, a long-time colleague of Somkid's. Somkid later decided to resign from the committee, which was then dissolved. Somkid's long-time rival, Finance Minister Pridiyathorn Devakula volunteered to help perform the committee's role, and denied any role in Somkid's resignation.
In early May 2007, a group of former senators-elect said they were ready to support Somkid in forming a new political party, the so-called Dharma Thippatai group. Among those included Suraporn Danaitangtrakoon, Anek Laothamatas (former leader of the Mahachon Party), and former Thai Rak Thai members Suranand Vejjajiva and Pimol Srivikorn. On 26 June 2007, they founded Ruam Jai Thai.
- Somkid promises he'll do it his way
- 泰国副总理颂奇回汕省亲祭祖 林木声黄志光等前往机场迎接
- Bangkok's Independent Newspaper
- Asiaweek.com | On The Hot Seat | 2/3/2001
- Somkid - who else could it be?
- Bangkok Post, Chinese conglomerate said to seek majority stake in TPI, 27 May 2005
- Bangkok's Independent Newspaper
- BoI okays additional incentives for investors
- IHT ThaiDay - Manager Online
- Businessmen put Somkid in box seat
- Somkid takes an early lead in race to become prime minister
- The Nation. , Somkid arrives at Don Muang
- The Nation, Oct. 2, 2006 Thaksin resigns from Thai Rak Thai
- The Nation, Oct. 2, 2006 Somkid resigns from Thai Rak Thai Party
- The Nation, More flak over role for Somkid, 18 February 2007
- The Nation, Banharn criticises Surayud for appointing Somkid as economic envoy, 18 February 2007
- Bangkok Post, Pridiyathorn: No need to replace Somkid, 21 February 2007
- The Nation, Former senators-elect back Somkid, 10 May 2007