SET elects Asadej Kongsiri as new president
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SET elects Asadej Kongsiri as new president

Bourse picks outsider for new president amid market slump

Asadej Kongsiri. (File photo)
Asadej Kongsiri. (File photo)

The Stock Exchange of Thailand has (SET) picked an outsider to lead the bourse out of one of its worst periods in five decades amid a share price slump, an exodus by foreign funds and corporate scandals.

The SET reported on Friday that it has resolved to elect Asadej Kongsiri as the 14th president for a four-year term starting in September, succeeding Pakorn Peetathawatchai.

Mr Asadej, aged 53, has nearly 30 years of experience in the financial market, both domestically and internationally, and over 20 years in investment banking.

He is the head of financial advisory services at Deloitte Thailand after working as an investment banker at firms including Bank of America Corp and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has demanded market authorities tighten oversight and crackdown on corporate misconduct and improper stock trading to restore investor confidence. The equities benchmark in Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy has slid more than 7% this year, putting it among the world’s worst performers, with about US$180 billion of market value erased from a 2023 peak.

“Sentiment in the Thai stock market has been very sluggish with ongoing political noise and a foreign selloff,” said Niwes Hemvachiravarakorn, an investor and founder of the Thai Value Investor Club. “Investors just hope that stock market authorities will improve their communication on any measures or steps to comfort us during one of worst times in my experience of this market.” 

International funds have withdrawn more than $2.7 billion from the country’s domestic equities so far this year as a foreign selloff accelerated with rising concern about domestic political uncertainty and sluggish economic growth. An accounting scandal at Stark Corp last year heightened scrutiny of hidden financial risks in Thailand.  

Mr Asadej has a master in business from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) after completing an engineering undergraduate degree in the UK, according to his Linkedin profile. He also worked at PTT Pcl, the country’s largest energy company, and Finansa Securities Pcl.

"The Board of Governors are confident in his ability to lead and navigate the evolving financial landscape while restoring investors' confidence and enhancing the Thai capital market's attractiveness for both local and foreign investors," the SET said.

Last month, the SET board elected Kitipong Urapeepatanapong as the 19th chairman of the exchange.

Mr Kitipong succeeds Pichai Chunhavajira, who stepped down when he was appointed finance minister in the cabinet reshuffle.

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