CEO the Year 2021: Best CEO in Lifetime Achievement

Dr Harald Link

Chairman & President of B.GRIMM

Lifetime achievement for a CEO: B.Grimm’s culture of compassion

A Thai-German businessman, industrialist and philanthropist, Dr Harald Link is best known as the Chairman, President, and owner of B.Grimm, the longest-established company in Thailand. Now a third-generation head, his principle for leading his family’s empire is to do good for society.

“We are grateful for our long and distinguished history of doing business with compassion,” he said.

Established in the reign of King Rama V in 1878, B.Grimm was based on creating value for society — starting with the opening of Siam Dispensary to produce modern Western medicines to Siamese people and later the Royal Court. It also created a significant infrastructure in 1888 with the building of the 1,500-km long Rangsit Canal, Southeast Asia’s largest irrigation system at the time, together with the Snidvongse family.

B.Grimm created a sustainable business and built the company’s reputation by providing high-quality products and services, as well as always caring for the wellbeing of society at large. It is the only company awarded the Siam Coat of Arms for its services to the country during the reigns of King Rama V, Rama VI and Rama VII.

In 1978, Harald Link, who graduated from St. Gallen University in Switzerland, joined the business in Thailand as assistant to the managing partner and took over the company as its chairman 19 years later. Under his leadership, B.Grimm has become a multinational conglomerate with businesses across energy, building and industrial systems, healthcare, transportation, lifestyle, real estate, digital businesses and capital investments.

In 2017, he led B.Grimm Power to be listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand, driving the company’s growth to another high level. When it became opportune for the company to restructure in preparation for expansion, he resumed the presidency again in 2020 and spearheaded B.Grimm Power to assume a global presence in renewable energy with hydroelectric, solar and wind projects.

Dr Link’s business acumen over 30 years alone would have easily earned him the title of “Best CEO in Lifetime Achievement” presented by the Bangkok Post. However, in his own view, the real success of his family legacy is B.Grimm’s culture of compassion.

“First and foremost, we seek to help society at large and especially our people and their families to stay happy. By providing vaccinations to all our teams during the pandemic, we only had one case of Covid-19 among our staff. We strive to take good care of our people and develop them,” explained Dr Link.

More evidently, his business practices which value partnership and cooperation truly embody the philosophy of compassion.

“Partnership is one of our core values next to positivity, professionalism and pioneering spirit. We aim to offer value for our partners, not ourselves, to foster good relationships and bond with local companies and government agencies in every country we go. For example, there was a big flood in Cambodia last year, and we were the only one who finished our solar farm construction project there.”

“Everywhere we go, we want to build a B.Grimm. That means social engagement, sustainability and a compassionate community that can truly co-exist with society there. We believe in the principle of generosity in business, to create value for society while growing alongside them. Once they can trust that B.Grimm is a good company, opportunities will eventually follow,” said Dr Link.

His philosophy encapsulates B.Grimm Power’s vision of “Empowering the World Compassionately.” Moreover, B.Grimm is among the first companies in Thailand to commit to a long-term goal of becoming a net-zero carbon emissions organisation by 2050.

However, for Dr Link, compassion extends beyond corporate affairs and he has initiated many philanthropic projects, ranging from education and environment to arts and sports.

As Chairman of the Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra (RBSO) Foundation, he leads the foundation through its fourth decade to cultivate classical music among the younger generation and make classical music accessible to all.

In sports, he is internationally-recognised for his role as President of the Thailand Equestrian Federation, working tirelessly to raise standards of the sport in the Asian region. Under his visionary leadership, he made history by sending the Thai national equestrian team to compete in the Tokyo Olympics 2020, and the Thai team winning the first ever FEI Asian Championship in 2019.

“We support cultural activities such as equestrian sports and Western music because they can help elevate the image of Thai people as cultured and competent. Actually, Thailand is at the forefront of the equestrian sport in many regional competitions,” he said.

Another philanthropic project is a science education programme called “The Little Scientist House”, a project of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, now taught in more than 22,245 Thai schools throughout the country. B.Grimm also supports the Princess Mother’s Charities Fund of Thailand in granting nursing scholarships, currently with more than 6,104 recipients.

His outstanding environmental contributions include, since 2014, an ongoing partnership with the World Wildlife Fund-Thailand on the ambitious “Save the Tigers” conservation programme in Thailand and many reforestation projects across the country.

“Our whole business is about harmoniously growing alongside communities and compassionately empowering them,” concluded Dr Link.

“Under Dr Harald’s leadership, B Grimm's business interests have expanded beyond Thailand into faster-growing markets around the region. In 2017, B Grimm Power was listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand and is today one of Thailand’s fastest-growing industrial and renewable power producers.”