Head of CIMB Thai resigns; says now is time to hand reins to a new generation of leaders

The head of CIMB Thailand, Adisorn Sermchaiwong, resigned from the Bank on Friday and will leave the company by September, the bank told investors in a statement.

Adisorn, who currently serves as CIMB’s director, president and chief executive officer, told Thai Enquirer that now was the right time for him to leave his post to make way for a new generation of leaders.

“The banking world is increasingly moving towards a new digital frontier and it is time for a new generation of leaders who understand this ecosystem to take the lead,” he said.

Adisorn said that he was leaving behind a solid infrastructure after eight years of modernizing CIMB Thai’s operations.

“I know I am leaving the bank in a good position otherwise I would not have stepped down,” he said.

Increased profits and profile

Under Adisorn’s stewardship, CIMB’s profits and clientele have increased despite the decision to slowly close down their brick and mortar branches.

In 2019, the bank announced a record profit of 1.9 billion baht, the highest margin since the Malaysian Bank entered the Thai market a decade ago.

In that decade, the bank has increased its loan portfolio from less than 30 billion baht to 120 billion baht and increased its private banking and wealth customers from less than 10,000 clients to over 70,000 baht today.

All this was done as part of Adisorn’s decision to close down its retail branches from 140 nationwide just several years ago to around 60 something today so that the bank could better focus on its digital services.

“We are a smaller bank so we can make decisions like this quicker,” Adisorn told Thai Enquirer.

Future challenges

The coronavirus pandemic has dipped into profits however with the bank reporting a loss in April of this year. The bank bounced back in May, however, posting a profit of 200 million baht after the government eased lockdown measures.

“We were on track to make a record profit until COVID happened,” Adisorn said. But the now acting-CEO said that despite the outbreak the bank still had strong fundamentals to weather any challenge.

As for himself, Adisorn said that he would focus on new challenges after leaving CIMB including a venture centred on retirement funds and investments.

“Thailand has developed to a point where we have a large base of middle income, salaried workers,” he said. “However, people in this group do not realize the need for having proper investment plans and retirement plans.”

The venture, he said, would be revealed by next week.

Stock price

CIMBT opened at 0.67 baht per share on Friday, the bank experienced only a slight drop to 0.66 baht as of lunchtime. Share prices are up from 0.53 baht per share at the beginning of the year.

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