CEO the Year 2021: Best CEO in Retail Excellence

Yol Phokasub

Chief Executive Officer of Central Retail Corporation Public Company Limited

Key Achievements

With chief executive officer, Yol Phokasub, at the helm, Central Retail Corporation Plc (CRC), has successfully responded to the challenges set by the fast-changing behaviour of customers and digital disruption.

The company has synergised online and offline retail operations for customers by offering a better customer experience with completed and correlated products and services including physical socialisation.

The CRC focuses on omnichannel shopping and develops ways to stay resilient and has become the leading multi-format and multi-category retailing platform in Thailand.

It continues to grow internationally, securing leadership status in Italy and is also recognised as one of Vietnam’s retail leaders.

The reason behind its success is embedded within its constant desire to innovate. It is reflected in its efforts over the years to drive the evolution of consumer lifestyles and shopping habits by introducing new retail formats that serve diverse needs and create distinctive experiences.

The challenge for the company has not only been about offering many options, but more about how to integrate and make them seamless as one experience, according to Mr Yol.

"On the other hand some certainties remain — customers want ‘more and less’: more value, more choice, and more convenience. And they want less of the opposites: less frills, less limitation, and less friction. We need business models to address and fulfil these certainties."

With extensive experience in retail consumer products and marketing as well as an educational background in computer science and software engineering from Imperial College London, Mr Yol has driven the retail business of the Central Group in developing its omnichannel model since 2017, with the pandemic having provided strong tailwinds.

To accommodate the fast-changing world and people's behaviour, he has developed the "central economy" to enhance the human experience with new technology and keep physical transformation to combine with an online business.

He has also been enhancing key facilities for online business, including long-distance logistic systems to improve infrastructure for a more seamless experience and a payment system to be overhauled and made painless through a safer and more secure method.

Mr Yol is focused on ensuring consumers have access to the newest experiences possible. By bridging customers’ physical and virtual worlds, he provides shopping experiences that are more seamless and intuitive than ever.

In the transformation process, Mr Yol has adopted two tracks of change — every business unit must go online and the must be data-driven businesses.

He has also worked with the banking sector to enhance payment and financial solutions.