With an entrepreneurial spirit that turned around his family’s fixed-line and pay TV business, then grew it 1,000% in ten years into Thailand’s third largest mobile provider with 24 million mobile subscribers, Suphachai Chearavanont leads True Corporation for Thailand’s CP Group, chaired by his father.
One of five siblings, of which three work at CP Group, Suphachai Chearavanont progressed through the ranks by implementing a unique convergence business strategy and founding several subsidiaries along the way in his 30s. In 2005, he staged a buyback and rebranded. True is now one of Asia’s leading telecoms, the only operator in Thailand offering the full range of convergence services from mobile and fixed-line phones to broadband and pay TV. To pay off debt, Suphachai Chearavanont took on a foreign partner in September 2014, selling 18% of True to NYSE listed China Mobile. He was awarded Asia Pacific’s Telecomm CEO of the Year in 2015 for his leadership and outstanding achievements in developing the telecommunications industry within the Asia Pacific region.
His new aim: to quintuple True’s Thai subscriber base in five years, attracting 100 million new customers throughout the region. Watch for gains on the battleground in Myanmar, where True is pitted against Norway’s Telenor and Qatar’s Oredoo. He recently joined the board of CP Group as Vice Chairman of the diversified conglomerate in food, telecommunications, real estate, and financial investments.
Suphachai Chearavanont is also emerging as a leader in social enterprise. The understated father of three, he was instrumental in establishing True Plookpanya (planting wisdom), True’s CSR initiative, which brings together communications technology and innovation to enhance education for underprivileged children in 5,500 schools in remote areas across Thailand. True Plookpanya also helps improve the quality of life for disabled members of society by facilitating access to essential communication services, especially for the hearing and visually-impaired, as well as developing tools to help autistic people improve their learning and communication skills.