Major shakeups could be on the way for companies under the Energy Ministry after energy permanent secretary Norkhun Sitthipong abruptly quit his post as chairman of PTT Plc last week.
Pongsak: ‘Time to change their ways’
Mr Norkhun's resignation followed last month's appointment of Vichet Kasemthongsri, who served as transport minister in deposed premier Thaksin Shinawatra's former administration, as an independent director at PTT.
PTT is the national oil and gas giant and is the largest listed company on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET).
It is believed Mr Vichet will replace Mr Norkhun as PTT's board chairman.
Energy Minister Pongsak Raktapongpaisarn said yesterday that all energy firms should change the way they operate.
He said the boards of energy companies, including the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat), might face changes.
An industry insider, who asked not to be named, predicted that the Pheu Thai Party would make a major move to regain power of the trillion-baht energy industry it lost control of after the 2006 coup.
The ministry was established under the Thaksin cabinet in 2002, which gave key members of the party control over the energy sector.
Mr Pongsak, who is believed be close to Thaksin, took over the Energy Ministry late last year.
He said Egat needed to make changes to its board after former chairman Pornchai Rujiprapha retired last year.
The post has remained vacant.
Other energy firms under his ministry should also change the way they do business, Mr Pongsak said.
"Many sectors and assets of Egat should be expanded and exploited for better investment returns and to generate greater revenues for the state," he said.
Other listed energy firms that Egat holds major stakes in, such as Electricity Generating Plc and Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Plc (RATCH), could also face overhauls.
RATCH, for example, has reduced state ownership to below 50% but government representatives still make up a majority of the board. "I want to see these companies help Thailand secure energy resources. Their organisations might need to be revamped for a more flexible work process," Mr Pongsak said.
Mr Pongsak succeeded fellow Pheu Thai member Arak Chonlathanont, who took over from Pichai Naripthaphan _ the first energy minister under the Yingluck Shinawatra government.
In Thaksin's absence, the Energy Ministry and PTT appeared to fall under the influence of the Chartthaipattana Party and one of its key leaders, Suwat Liptapanlop.
Mr Suwat's wife, Lt Poonphirom Liptapanlop, was named as the energy minister during Samak Sundaravej's cabinet in 2007.
About the author
- Writer: Yuthana Praiwan
Position: Business Reporter