Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob has backed down from his plan to replace board chairmen at Thai Airways International (THAI) and Airports Authority of Thailand (AOT).
He had said earlier he would replace the directors of all state enterprises under the supervision of his ministry now that he was now in charge.
He said on Monday the changes he meant for the two agencies were merely to replace retiring directors.
“Substituting chairmen of the boards [of THAI and AOT] are difficult because it involves shareholders and requires their approval since both are listed companies,” he added.
The chairmen of THAI and AOT are Ekniti Nitithanprapas and Prasong Poontaneat, both from the Finance Ministry. There were reports the pair, as well as other chairmen, had prepared resignation letters to give Mr Saksayam a free hand but no official announcements had been made.
That left Mr Saksayam with the possibility to replace chairmen of three state enterprises in the near term — Somsak Hommuang of Port Authority of Thailand, Krairit Uchukananchai of Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand, and Nattachart Jarujinda of Bangkok Mass Transit Authority.
The nominees, however, will have to be screened and approved by the Finance Ministry’s State Enterprise Policy Office.
The board of the Expressway Authority of Thailand (EXAT) will also see no change for now, pending the planned revision of a cabinet resolution on the authorised party to reconcile the dispute between the authority and SET-listed Bangkok Expressway and Metro Plc (BEM).
A ministry source said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had put brakes of Mr Saksayam’s plan to replace the chairmen of THAI and AOT.
The Transport ministry supervises 14 state enterprises. In addition to THAI, AOT, EXAT, MRTA and BMTA, it is in charge of Port Authority of Thailand, State Railways of Thailand, The Transport Co, Aeronautical Radio of Thailand, Civil Aviation Training Center, SRT Electrified Train Co, Thai-Amadeus Southeast Asia Co, Thai Smile Airways, Suvanaabhumi Hotel Co and Airport Rail Link.