Friday, January 20, 2012


The Umpujh family, which owns The Mall Group, the country's No.2 retail chain, will look to outside professionals to replace its retiring family members.

The move is in contrast with the Chirathivats that control Central Group, which have prepared their younger generations to take on its retail business empire from senior family members.

The Umpujhs do not have a large clan like the Chirathivats, whose members number over 60, and their new generation are too young to take over its 40-billion-baht retail empire.

The Mall's key family executives like Supaluck Umpujh and trusted non-family lieutenants like Phaibul Kanokvatanawan, the group's senior executive vice-president, and Chamnarn Maytaprechakul, senior chief marketing officer, are approaching retirement age.

"It's a new challenge for The Mall. After trying to bring in more professionals from outside for years, it's time to blend them to have one heart," said Mr Chamnarn, 55.

Successors for each business unit must have conceptual skill and management capability to continue their retail careers, he added.

"My successor should think outside of the box and adapt marketing strategy to a dynamic environment. They need to be fearless."

Apart from Mr Chamnarn, Malinee Subboriboon, senior chief merchandising officer, and Pira Assavapirom, senior chief merchandising officer for supermarkets, will retire soon.

Some 10 young bloods including Jakkrit Keeratichokchaikun, senior chief merchandising officer of Power Mall, joined The Mall during this transition.

Mr Chamnarn wants to look in-house for his replacement. He's not concerned with competition as hypermarkets and community malls mushroom.

"Competition did not just happen overnight. We try to differentiate our stores with our product offerings. More importantly, our people work together with one heart. This is our strength," he said, adding the total marketing concept has become a key to the group's success.

Mr Chamnarn finds inspiration from books, movies and music.

The Mall generated 44 billion baht in sales last year, a 10% rise from 2010. Its growth projection this year is 5-10%.

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