Monday, December 26, 2011

Thaicom's new CEO shifts to function-oriented structure

In an interview with The Nation, Suphajee, who assumed her position in August, said the organisation has shifted from a product-centric operation to a function-oriented one. The change will officially take effect next month.

Earlier, Thaicom's organisational structure focused on products, with one marketing and sales team overseeing satellite broadcasting services while another oversaw iPSTAR satellite broadband services.

"In the new chapter, Thaicom is moving forward; they'll not work separately but oversee products of both the broadcasting and broadband businesses," she said.

Under the new structure, company president Dr Nongluck Phinainitisart becomes chief commercial officer in charge of sales and marketing for both the satellite-broadcasting and the satellite-broadband businesses, a change from overseeing only the broadcasting business' sales and marketing.

Chief technical officer Paiboon Panuwattanawong will provide engineering support to both businesses, instead of only to the iPSTAR business as he did earlier.

Thaicom currently owns the Thaicom 5 broadcasting satellite and the iPSTAR broadband satellite.

Suphajee said the change is also intended to prepare the firm for the new businesses it expects to gain from the launch of the Thaicom 6 broadcasting satellite, together with the launch of a new satellite in cooperation with Asia Satellite Telecommunications (AsiaSat). They will provide services on their portions of the new satellite under the names AsiaSat 6 and Thaicom 7, respectively.

Thaicom 6 and Thaicom 7 are expected to be launched by 2013 and in early 2014, respectively.

Tanadit Charoenchan, Thaicom's acting executive vice president of marketing and sales for China, will handle the company's special projects and portfolio management of the businesses that Thaicom does not own 100 per cent, such as CS Loxinfo, Lao Telecommunications (LTC) and Cambodia-based cellular operator Mfone.

Suphajee said LTC has performed well and there is a chance it will be listed on Laos' stock exchange. The Lao government owns 51 per cent in LTC, while Shenington Investments holds 49 per cent. Thaicom owns 51 per cent in Shenington.

But Mfone has suffered from the brutal competition in Cambodia, where there are total of 10 players. Shenington owns 100 per cent of Mfone, which is the third-largest player in Cambodia.

It was speculated that Thaicom would divest its stakes in Mfone to other players in Cambodia, and the deal is expected to be concluded early next year. Suphajee declined to comment on the matter.

Thaicom posted a consolidated net profit of Bt16 million in the third quarter, versus a net loss of Bt25 million in the previous quarter and a net loss of Bt317 million in the third quarter of 2010.

Suphajee said Thaicom would stay focused to sustain profit growth.

Thaicom's flagship, iPSTAR, will further boost demand for its services. Suphajee has targeted a utilisation rate of at least 35 per cent of total capacity next year, up sharply from the current 24 per cent.

The iPSTAR footprint covers 14 Asia Pacific countries with a bandwidth capacity of more than 45 gigabits per second.

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