THAI executive vice-president Chokchai Panyayong confirmed the appointment after the board meeting and said Mr Sorajak was expected to take up his new position in October.The next step is to negotiate contract terms and other details including salary with Mr Sorajak . The process is expected to take about two weeks. Mr Sorajak's performance will be assessed every six months while he is in office.
The selection came as no surprise as Mr Sorajak was the sole candidate for the top job at the national carrier. He was picked by a selection committee led by Areepong Bhoocha-oom, theTHAI vice-chairman and permanent secretary for the Finance Ministry, the airline's biggest shareholder.Mr Sorajak has been the chairman of the majority state-owned broadcaster MCOT Plc since December last year.The holder of a PhD in international law from the London School of Economics, Mr Sorajak once worked as a translator and reporter for the BBC's Thai-language service. On returning to Thailand he worked at the Foreign Ministry before starting to teach law, eventually becoming dean of law at Assumption University.In 1999 he was named director-general of the Mass Communication Organisation of Thailand, the operator of TV Channel 9, when it was still a 100% government-owned enterprise.He was succeeded by Mingkwan Saengsuwan, who led the semi-privatisation and market listing of MCOT and later became a prominent figure in the Thai Rak Thai Party under Thaksin Shinawatra,Mr Sorajak also held advisory posts in the Thaksin administration, as a vice-minister of foreign affairs and later as a vice-minister in the Prime Minister's Office.He has also held directorships at Seamico Securities, M Pictures Entertainment, and is an independent director of Electricity Generating Plc.In another development on Friday, the THAI board agreed to a demand for an end to opened-ended contracts for temporary staff.Mr Chokchai said the age limit for air crews working under contracts would be set at 45 years and their contracts could be extended on a yearly basis. The age limit for other contracted workers including ground staff would be set at 60, he added.The new contracts will take effect after the carrier comes up with the new criteria to assess their performance in their respective jobs.About 100 contracted staff rallied at the THAI head office on Friday calling for the end of open-ended contracts to improve job security, because their contracts can be eliminated at short notice.THAI has 1,600 aircrew members who work on the contract. Another 800 contracted officials work as ground staff and other duties.Mr Piyasvasti, whose wife Anik is a board member and party-list MP of the opposition Democrat Party, was axed as Thai Airways' president and CEO in June, and said he believed that his removal was politically motivated. He later filed a lawsuit, demanding that THAI renew his employment contract until the expiry date and to pay him compensation for the entire employment period remaining in the contract, which expires on July 11 next year.