- 1979 : Bachelor of Science, Accounting, Bangkok University
- 2000 : Program for Global Leadership, Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration
- 2006 : Director Certification Program, Thai Institute of Directors Association
- 2014 : Capital Market Academy Leader Program, Capital Market Academy
CRAFTING A CLEAN, GREEN LOOK
Somruedee Chaimongkol, chief executive of Banpu Plc, has led staff to craft a new clean look of Banpu since her rise to the top job in 2015.
The non-oil energy conglomerate is determined to transform itself into greener and smarter company in the next five years after seeing coal sales dominate its portfolio for almost four decades.
In its recent announcement, a Smart Energy for Sustainability campaign will take a center stage in its business direction from this year.
The company wants to position itself as a developer and operator of clean power and advanced energy solutions.
“In a long term, we will change our portfolio, having clean energy and energy technology take up more than half of our businesses,” said Ms Somruedee.
Looking back to its establishment in 1983, Ms Somruedee, who joined Banpu in the same year, first knew the company as a coal supplier for tobacco processing operators, but the company gradually changed its look, becoming a major energy firm with a range of businesses.
In 2000, the company began to expand its business overseas, becoming a coal miner and trader across Asia-Pacific.
Ms Somruedee played a key role in strengthening financial status of Banpu when she led the finance department in 2001 and became chief financial officer in 2006.
Her work was widely recognised, with awards, including Best CFO, granted to her by Asian finance polls and magazines.
In 2016, Banpu decided to set up a spin-off power generation firm, Banpu Power, which was also later listed in the Stock Exchange of Thailand.
Under Ms Somruedee’s leadership during 2016 and 2018, Banpu and Banpu Power diversified into rooftop solar panel business, energy storage system, electric vehicles (EVs) and vehicle-hailing application development.
Banpu also acquired shale gas production assets in the US – Marcellus shale basin in Pennsylvania and Barnett shale basin in Texas.
In October last year, Banpu decided to spend US$ 30.8 million in capital expenditure to run a natural gas production facility in the Barnett shale field. The investment put the company in the top 20 of the largest gas producers by volume in the US.
Natural gas is more environmentally friendly than other types of fossil-based fuels.
Among these businesses, clean energy development is most attracted to Banpu. “We see a global trend in clean energy resources and are developing technology to catch it,” said Ms Somruedee.
Last year, Banpu added 657 megawatts to its renewable energy portfolio across Asia.
It also completed construction of 1.3-gigawatt SLG thermal power plant in China, developed five smart cities, which promise wise use of energy, in Thailand and traded 280 gigawatts hour of electricity under micro grid scheme.
To fuel its growth in energy technologies, Banpu and Banpu Power co-established Banpu Next Co as their technological arm to especially support EV business.
In February, 2019, it acquired shares in Singapore-based Durapower Holdings, a lithium-ion battery maker.
It also acquired a 21.5% stake in FOMM Corporation, a Japanese developer of compact EVs.
Banpu teamed up with local startup Urban Mobility Technology to develop Haup Car application for EV ride-sharing and MovMi application for electric tuktuks.
Tuktuks were primarily launched for commuters on electric trains in Bangkok, serving as feeders to minor roads.
The company also launched an electric ferry project serving tourists in scenic Phangnga Bay in southern Thailand.
Decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitalization are a three D's principle Banpu is adopting in a move to become an international versatile energy provider, said Ms Somruedee.
GETTING THROUGH CRISIS
Even in the midst of Covid-19 impact that caused Banpu to adopt careful financial management, it managed to continue clean energy businesses.
The company applied its ride-sharing and EV businesses to the medical field, serving hospital personnel and patients to ensure their trips to and from hospitals are free from risk of contracting Covid-19.
A fleet of EVs have been provided to serve customers who can hail them through a mobile phone app.
The service received a very warm welcome from medical staff and clients, according to Ms Somruedee.
“We must turn the crisis into a new business opportunity. The more problems we face, the more challenges we must overcome to ensure the best actions,” she said.