- Bachelor's degree in marketing, Faculty of Commerce and Accountancy, Chulalongkorn University
- MBA, McCombs School of Business University of Texas at Austin
- Executive programme, Stanford University
- 2020-present : Chief executive officer, Kasikornbank
- 2016 : Co-president, KBank
- 2014 : Senior executive vice-president, chief financial officer, KBank
- 2010 : Executive vice-president, chief financial officer, finance and control division, KBank
- 2005 : First senior vice-president, retail business division, KBank
It's a long way to the top - and you never stop learning
For less than one year seated at the helm of Kasikornbank (KBank) as chief executive, Kattiya Indaravijaya humbly said it is too early to discuss her achievement. But the top executive position itself has already cemented Ms Kattiya’s success after spending her whole working life at KBank until she was promoted to the top job on April 2020.
Kattiya, 55, is the first female chief executive of KBank, the country’s second commercial lender by total assets and ranked in the top position in terms of digital banking services. She is also the first chief executive coming outside the Lamsam family, replacing Banthoon Lamsam, since the bank’s inception 75 years ago when it was known as the Thai Farmers Bank.
KBank is the first and only company for Ms Kattiya since she joined 34 years ago. She started her career as KBank's relations manager for the manufacturing and agriculture lending department. Her responsibilities included credit analysis of various companies and evaluating the feasibility of many projects. The role required collecting a massive amount of customer data to support senior colleagues.
Ms Kattiya said she needs a longer time to measure her success in the top executive position. But for the short term, she has managed to steer KBank’s business to withstand and overcome the Covid-19 outbreak for a year’s duration so far, with a collective effort of both the bank’s management team and all staff members. With KBank being able to endure the storming crisis, this in turn helps customers to survive as well, she said.
KBank has been trying to operate business on a normal basis as much as possible amid the difficult situation. The bank has managed to become the first financial institution in Thailand to launch a social banking platform, Line BK, under a partnership between KBank and Line Corporation. With the existing 1.4 million users in total, this innovative financial service is a solution which responds to customers’ financial requirements and consumers’ lifestyle amid social distancing measures implemented during the prolonged pandemic crisis.
“Basically, the bank has prepared our business plan in advance for the next few years and this goes beyond digital disruption. We need to disrupt ourselves first before waiting for the disruption itself,” she said.
In her own words, Ms Kattiya’s working philosophy is “doing things as only a CEO can do”. This motto has facilitated a proper working structure and process and simultaneously empowers teamwork. Nonetheless, more work is needed to be done to strengthen the agility of an organisation to catch up with a fast-paced world, changing economic landscape and consumer requirements.
“Maintaining eye contact with the ball” is a key character of a leader that foresees all the happenings across a multiple spectrum," Ms Kattiya said. This is because KBank’s ecosystem revolves around customers, staff, shareholders, communities and the country since a financial institution acts as an important mechanism driving the Thai economy forward.
A fast-changing business environment and unexpected situations are the key challenges for Ms Kattiya as a top executive. Therefore, more speed on formulating the work process and rapid execution is necessary for the current state of doing business.
In essence, KBank will maintain the existing objective for its annual business operations through providing benefits to all related parties and the overall Thai economy, with an adjustable business strategy in accordance to changing circumstances.
From now on, the bank will focus its attention on digital and technology development under a collaboration with business partners, both financial and non-financial sectors, to build up a comprehensive digitalised financial ecosystem that empowers customers and businesses.
At the same time, financial inclusion is another key initiative of Thai financial institutions, including KBank, to facilitate retail clients, both individuals and businesses, to have a greater access to better funding opportunities.
“We wish to offer greater opportunities to the smaller guys. Such opportunities include financial services, information and experts in different fields in line with requirements of a customer,” Ms Kattiya said.
Going forward, KBank aims to upgrade itself to become a regional banking entity by searching for new business opportunities and new income sources. China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam are countries classified as the core focus of a regional expansion strategy by means of digitalisation and partnership.
As life is like a box of chocolates which you never know what to expect, Ms Kattiya offers words of wisdom by quoting Mahatma Gandhi’s renowned phrase. “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”