Race for new Bank of Thailand chief extended

Race for new Bank of Thailand chief extended

Bank of Thailand Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob poses with the bank's logo in Bangkok, Aug 5, 2016. (Reuters file photo)
Bank of Thailand Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob poses with the bank's logo in Bangkok, Aug 5, 2016. (Reuters file photo)

Authorities have extended the application period for the next central bank governor to seek a wider range of candidates for the job of steering the economy through the coronavirus crisis, the selection committee said on Thursday.

The economy could shrink 8.1% this year, the biggest contraction on record, the Bank of Thailand (BoT) predicts.

Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob, 50, whose five-year term ends on Sept 30, will not seek a second term for family reasons.

The application period - initially open from May 26 to June 16 - has been extended to July 10 "to benefit the country as the current situation is not normal", committee chairman Rungson Sriworasat told reporters.

Four candidates - two BoT officials and two non-central bankers - had applied, he said, adding that the committee was looking "for more outsiders", referring to non-central bankers.

The new governor needed enough mettle to bring Thailand out of the economic crisis, said Kobsidthi Silpachai, head of capital market research at Kasikornbank.

"Given that the unfolding Covid-19 crisis is unprecedented, the new governor will have to think of solutions that are 'out of the box', especially as traditional tools, such as policy rates, are nearly exhausted," he said.

Qualified applicants will present their visions on July 21 before the committee picks two from which the finance minister will select the 24th governor. The appointment needs cabinet approval and the king's endorsement.

According to media reports, two deputy central bank governors, Mathee Supapongse and Ronadol Numnonda, had applied.

Mr Mathee has worked at the BoT for more than three decades. He is currently supervising monetary stability and is a member of the monetary policy committee.

Mr Ronadol, who has been at the BoT for over 20 years, is overseeing financial institutions stability.

Media reports also said Tongjai Thanachanan, a management consultant who heads Pracharath Rak Samakkee, a social enterprise carrying out community activities, had applied.

The BoT declined to comment. 

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