23 June 2014

Mr. Anand Panyarachun

Chairman of the Siam Commercial Bank PCL

Mr. Anand was born in Bangkok on 9 August 1932. He is the youngest of twelve children of Phya and Khunying Prichanusat. His early education at Amnuaysilpa school and Bangkok Christian College was followed by his being a boarder at Dulwich College, London.

After completing his B.A. (Hons.) degree in Law from Trinity College, University of Cambridge in 1955, Mr. Anand commenced his distinguished career in the Thai Foreign Service. Highlights of his career included services as Ambassador to Canada, Ambassador to the U.S.A., Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ambassador to Germany. Since leaving the Foreign Service in 1979, Mr. Anand has been active in the world of business and international affairs.

While holding the position of Permanent Secretary, he was instrumental in the implementation of the Thai Government's foreign policy of adjustment to the new geopolitical landscape. Anand assumed a leadership role in negotiations with the U.S. Government on the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops from Thailand. He also was catalytic in leading efforts for the resumption in 1976 of diplomatic relations with three socialist countries, namely China, Laos and Vietnam

After the tumultous events of 6 October 1976, Thailand experienced a military backlash and the return of a military-led authoritarian rightist government. As a result, Anand became the victim of a rightist conspiracy. He was wrongly accused of being a communist, which was considered at that time to be a criminal charge, and was suspended from his position as Permanent Secretary on those bogus allegations. A civil service panel was set up to investigate the allegations. On the basis of the evidence presented and testimonies given by witnesses, the panel found the charges to be totally unsubstantiated and absolved Anand of any wrongdoing.

He was thus reinstated into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and was assigned to Bonn as Thailand's Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany. After serving for one year, he decided to retire in 1979 from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, thus ending an illustrious career of twenty-three years in the Thai foreign service.

Mr. Anand started his second profession in 1979 in the private sector with the Saha-Union Group, where he assumed the position of Vice-Chairman and Director of several of its subsidiary companies. In 1991, Anand was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saha-Union Group.

During his business career, Anand was actively involved in the work of the ASEAN Chambers of Commerce and Industry. He headed an ASEAN Task Force during 1982-1983, which charted the future course of ASEAN economic cooperation.

He was also elected Chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries in 1990 after serving as Vice-Chairman from 1988 to 1990. In addition, he served as a Director of Sime Darby Berhad from 1982 to 1998, and a Director of the Siam Commercial Bank from 1984 to present day.

Following the military take-over in February 1991, Anand was invited to serve as Prime Minister of Thailand in March 1991. While reluctant to assume that political position in the aftermath of the extra-constitutional process, Anand was convinced that by assuming the position, he could help lead Thailand back to the path of democracy.

Mr. Anand wanted to minimize the damage inflicted on Thailand's democratic process, and reverse the practice of militarization of politics in the country. He further believed he could successfully establish a civilian-dominated government, which could ensure a smooth and peaceful transition to an open society, institute much needed economic and social reforms, and promote a more transparent and accountable system of governance in Thailand.

He succeeded in most of what he aspired to do. His Government initiated reforms in several key sectors of the Thai economy, including tax and trade regimes, industrial restructuring, environmental management, educational and health services. For the latter, Anand was the first Asian leader to recognize HIV/AIDS as a major development challenge and to mount a nation-wide program in 1991 to combat the epidemic in Thailand. As a result, Thailand was able to significantly reduce the number of HIV infections due to the effective HIV prevention program instituted by the Anand Government.

Anand's earlier work at the ASEAN Chambers of Commerce and Industry to promote regional economic cooperation provided a basis for the blueprint of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), which was proposed by Thailand and endorsed at the 1991 ASEAN Summit, held in Singapore.

Anand's Government organized free and fair general elections in May 1992 to return democratic rule to the Thai people. After those elections, problems arose in the Parliamentary election of the Prime Minister, who was generally perceived by the public as being a legacy of the discredited military clique.

Trouble spilled into the streets; protests and public demonstrations ensued. There was an attempted military suppression resulting in violence and loss of life. Chaos reigned and anarchy threatened to break out. His Majesty the King made a timely intervention and judiciously restored peace and harmony.

Mr. Anand was nominated by the President of the Parliament to again assume the Prime Ministership for the second time. His nomination, was widely welcomed by the public, and was endorsed by Royal Proclamation on 10 June 1992.

Anand's mandate was to ensure the continuation of peace and order, and to hold new general elections in the near future. His second tenure lasted four months during which he facilitated a nation-wide healing process. Anand helped to ensure that justice was served by holding a number of generals accountable for the May 1991 suppression through removing them from their command positions. After the general elections in September 1992, Anand retired from politics in October 1992.

Anand resumed his business career as Chariman of Saha-Union Group but continued his public service work in a personal capacity. He has been called upon to assist successive civilian governments in the areas of economic and social policies, human rights and governance.

In 1997, Anand was elected as a member of the Constitution Drafting Assembly and was appointed Chairman of the Drafting Committee. He oversaw the drafting of the Constitution, which was completed within the prescribed time of 240 days, and approved after intensive debate by the National Assembly. The approved text of the Constitution was then submitted to His Majesty the King for His Royal assent and promulgated as the new Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand on 11 October 1997.

His interest and activities in the fields of education and the environment include Chairmanship of the Cambridge Thai Foundation, Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI), the Council of Trustees of Thailand Environment Institute (TEI), the Council of Asian University of Science and Technology (AUST), the Board of Trustees of the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Kenan Institute Asia and Honorary International Advisor to the Governors of Dulwich College, London.

In the international arena, Anand was a member of the World Bank Advisory Group on Anti-Corruption Issues for the East Asia and Pacific Region, the Group of International Advisors of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Advisory Council of Transparency International (TI), the Business Advisory Council of International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Informal Advisory Group, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Advisory Board of Council on Foreign Relations (New York), the International Advisory Board of General Electric Company (GE), the IBM Asia Pacific Board, the American International Group, Inc. (AIG) and the Asia-Pacific Advisory Board of Unocal Asia-Pacific Ventures, Ltd. He was also the Chairman of Business Council for Sustainable Development (Geneva), Thailand Business Council for Sustainable Development (TBCSD) and GE's Asia Pacific Advisory Board. He has also served as UNICEF Ambassador for Thailand since 1996.

Anand was in 2001 elected Chairman of the National Economic and Social Advisory Council.

During the course of five decades of his working life, Anand has been recognized both internationally and nationally for his dedication and work for the advancement of Thai society. He is the recipient of twenty five honorary degrees from universities in Thailand, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan and the United States of America.

In 2003, he was appointed by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to chair the UN High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, established to review the collective security role of the United Nations in a rapidly changing global political environment. The Panel submitted its report to the Secretary General in December 2004. He was appointed by Prime Minister Thaksin in 2005-2006 to be Chairman of the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) on the three southernmost provinces. Prime Minister Abhisit also appointed him to chair the Reform Commission in 2010-2011.

He has been Chairman of Siam Commercial Bank since September 2007, and UNICEF Ambassador for Thailand since 1996.

He is recipient of the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service in 1997.

He is married to M.R. Sodsee (nee Chakrabandh). They have two daughters (Nanda Kraikriksh and Daranee Charoen-Rajapark) and three grand children.