KBank's Banthoon Lamsam lauded for transforming the bank and shaping Thailand's financial industry
By Wendy Weng
With great foresight and fortitude, Banthoon Lamsam steered Kasikornbank through a series of crises and challenges, while leading the bank to invest strategically in digital transformation and actively promoting sustainable development.
- Lamsam was recognised for his visionary and strategic leadership that has transformed Kasikornbank into an exemplary organization
- He led the bank to invest strategically in digital transformation
- He has actively promoted sustainable development
Banthoon Lamsam, chairman emeritus of Kasikornbank, was honoured with the William “Bill” Seidman Award for Lifetime Achievement in Leadership in the Financial Services Industry for 2021 at The Asian Banker Leadership Achievement Award Virtual Ceremony 2021.
Lamsam was recognised for his visionary and strategic leadership that has transformed Kasikornbank into an exemplary organisation
The visionary and strategic leadership of Lamsam has transformed Kasikornbank into an exemplary organisation which has gained wide recognition. Throughout his tenure at the helm of Kasikornbank, he had steered it through a series of crises and challenges and led the bank to achieve tremendous growth, while firmly embracing corporate social responsibility and good corporate governance. His enduring and illustrious 40-year career at Kasikornbank is a profound hallmark in the industry.
Lamsam joined Kasikornbank (formerly known as Thai Farmers Bank) in 1979 and stepped down as CEO and chairman in April 2020 when the bank was the largest bank by total assets in Thailand. He became the president of Thai Farmers Bank in 1992 and its CEO in 2002. In 2003, he changed the name of the bank to its current name. He served as CEO of Kasikornbank from 2004 to 2010, CEO and president of the bank from 2010 to 2013 and chairman of the board and CEO of the bank from 2013 to 2020.
After his retirement in April 2020, the sound organisational fundamentals and well-prepared succession plans that he has put in place have allowed Kasikornbank to remain resilient amid challenges. As the Chairman Emeritus of Kasikornbank, Lamsam continues to support the bank as an important adviser.
Lamsam led the bank to invest strategically in digital transformation
Lamsam was the first to introduce the term "re-engineering" to the Thai banking industry. The bank pioneered the re-engineering concept to redesign branches, improve service delivery, quality and experience for customers, even during the Asian financial crisis, which the bank weathered without assistance from the government.
He led the bank to invest strategically in digital transformation, before the phrase became fashionable. In 2015, Kasikornbank launched a new core banking system, a milestone for the bank, and established Kasikorn Business Technology Group to explore financial innovations. The bank maintained its leadership in digital banking services and K Plus has been the most popular mobile banking app in Thailand.
Lamsam has actively promoted sustainable development
Meanwhile, under the leadership of Lamsam, the philosophy of sustainable development is instilled in all the bank's operations. Kasikornbank was the first bank in Thailand and Southeast Asia to issue sustainability bonds. It was the first Thai bank to become a signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Banking of the United Nations Environmental Program Finance Initiative, or UNEP FI.
In addition, Lamsam served as director of Santi Kaset, Pukha Nanfa Hotel, Pukha Go, Pukha Realty, Allpukha, Pukha Farm, Pukha Trade and Patala. He was chairman of Kasikorn Research Centre from 1999 to 2007, chairman of Thai Bankers Association from 1998 to 2000, vice chairman of Muang Thai Group Holding from 2010 to 2013 and a member of the University Council, Chulalongkorn University from 2016 to 2018.
Lamsam in his acceptance speech said, “I’m indebted to my team, my board of directors, my regulatory authorities, who worked with me to revive Kasikornbank after the Asian financial crisis and set it on its course of a new meaningful strategic direction. I am confident that I have left Kasikornbank in the hands of a very capable and multi-talented management team that understands the imperatives of running a modern corporation, namely strict corporate governance regime, and assiduity to build a comprehensive risk management system, the ability to nurture corporate culture that will attract qualified staffs, and the capacity to negotiate and thrive in a very digital marketplace, all without belittling the concerns for sustainability and equality”.
For video of the Leadership Dialogue and Leadership Achievement Awards Virtual Ceremony, please click here.
Region: Southeast Asia
Guest: Banthoon Lamsam