THAI seeks new CFO to fix finances

Thai Airways International Plc (THAI) is looking for a new chief financial officer (CFO) to solve its financial troubles which have resulted in huge losses for the national flag carrier.

It is the first time in THAI's 54 year history that its executives have decided to recruit a person for this position from outside the company, air force chief Prachin Chantong, the THAI board chairman, said on Wednesday.

High expectations will be placed on the new CFO to take the company out of its financial crisis, which, according to a THAI source, plunged the company into the red with a net loss of more than 12 billion baht last year.

"The new CFO will not only be a financial executive but also a professional financial strategist," said caretaker deputy Transport Minister Prin Suvanadat.

The company's huge financial loss is believed to result from both management problems and foreign exchange losses.

The CFO will be required to fix those flaws in the organisation, especially finding new ways to manage THAI revenues, which are in 50 different currencies.

"Exchange rate problems are one factor behind our red line but THAI is still committed to repaying long-term debts," Gen Prin said.  

THAI's board of directors has resolved to assign a panel, led by permanent secretary for finance Rangsan Siworasat, to draft the criteria for prospective candidates.

"We expect to take about two months to select the CFO," said ACM Prachin, adding the successful candidate will be contracted to redesign and oversee the company's finances for a term of four years.

It is still unknown whether financial experts will be interested in the job because its salary may be lower than that of other companies, because the return will be mainly based on qualifications of candidates, ACM Prachin said. 

In the short term, ACM Prachin said, THAI must not experience losses again this year.

In 2015, the company is expected to make a profit of at least 4.5 billion baht, he said.

The new CFO will succeed Wasukan Wisansawat, who resigned.

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