Here are a few stories about the firing Monday of Piyasvasti Amranand, head of the country’s flag carrier, Thai Airways.
The official MCOT reports:
The board of directors of Thailand’s national flag carrier Thai Airways International (THAI) on Monday terminated the employment contract of President Piyasvasti Amranand, a decision which stirred outrage among the company’s labour union members.
The THAI board resolved with 12 out of 13 members voting to end the employment contract of Mr Piyasvasti, effective next month and that he will be compensated with six months of his current salary, altogether estimated at Bt6 million.
Citing communication problems as the main reason to sack Mr Piyasvasti, board chairman Ampon Kittiampon explained that the panel made its decision although Mr Piyasvasti had passed his performance assessment with a high score.
The board of Thai Airways International Pcl sacked its president because of disagreements over strategy, a move that could derail the flag carrier’s attempts to return to profit and which is being questioned by its labour union.
Piyasvasti Amranand, a former energy minister, became president in October 2009 when the opposition Democrat party was in power. He has shaken up the airline and launched cost-cutting measures, including reductions in the salaries of senior executives. Thai Airways is 51 percent owned by the Finance Ministry.
Thai Airways International Pcl (THAI) Chief Executive Officer Piyasvasti Amranand thought his annual review went well. That didn’t stop the board from firing him.
“I just want the board to explain the reason,” Piyasvasti said at a media briefing yesterday. “It’s ambiguous. The performance of the company during my term has improved in every aspect and I passed the evaluation at 86 percent.”
The board of Thailand’s biggest airline cited a breakdown in communications with Piyasvasti for terminating his contract after three years. Piyasvasti oversaw a fleet modernization and cost cuts in 2009 that helped Thai Air rebound from its largest ever loss the year before to a record profit in 2010. The carrier slipped to another loss last year as fuel costs surged.
Communication problems between Piyasvasti and the board were hampering the company’s effort to meet a profit target of 6 billion baht ($192 million) to 7 billion baht this year, Chairman Ampon Kittiampon said yesterday. Ampon confirmed that Piyasvasti passed the company’s annual performance evaluation.
“The reasons that the board gave, that I have communication problems and differences of opinion with the board, are so strange,” said Piyasvasti, a former energy minister. “I am not that surprised, because the current political environment is like this.”
Elsewhere, BP asks:
Was the removal of the Thai Airways President political?
BP notes that Piyavasti’s wife, according to local media reports, is Anik Amranand:
She serves on the Board of Directors of the Democrat Party and has been an Abhisit adviser. From her parliamentary profile:
Advisor to the Leader of the Opposition (2005-2006)
Expert to the Member of the House of Representatives (2008)
Member of the Advisory Council for Democrat Party (since 2008)
Member of the House of Representatives, Democrat Party, Proportional Representatives, Changwat Cluster 6
BP: She became an MP at the 2011 election, but as you see she has been working officially for the Democrats for a while. This is her prerogative and BP is not suggesting any conflict of interest, but he was appointed by the previous government and his wife is a Democrat MP who has acted as an advisor to Abhisit. Are these not relevant? Heavens above, if the situation was reversed we would have congratulatory stories of a Puea Thai crony being removed after losing over 10 billion Baht last year,* but BP finds it odd in stories about whether he was removed for political reasons that there is no mention of his wife…..
[UPDATE: The answer to the question in the headline is a ‘yes’]
*Obvious factors of the loss are the high oil prices + bad economy so not necessarily down to him, but if he had been making record profits year after year then it would have made it difficult to sack him. He wasn’t though….
(All emphasis mine.)