Company: Siam Piwat
Bangkok isn’t a city short of malls but Chadatip Chutrakul – or “Khun Pam” as she prefers – has shaken up an increasingly “one-way” sector. “Those malls with a corridor and a room for every tenant have no soul,” says the CEO of Siam Piwat, the retail giant and real-estate company that her father founded. In 1959 the firm built Thailand’s first five-star hotel; today it owns four shopping centres across Bangkok and employs 2,000 people. The latest is the revamped Siam Discovery, a hybrid of mall, department store and curio emporium for Thai design, where brands mingle with pop-up shoeshines and digital art flickers above the escalators.
Siam Piwat gave its name to the Siam district of downtown Bangkok but the firm is now looking beyond its old stomping ground. On the riverbank of the Chao Phraya the firm is creating Iconsiam – a €1.5bn mall larger than any in the country – with Foster + Partners onboard as consultants. Siam Piwat is even building a rail link to the site, which will be donated to the city.
When Pam reluctantly joined the business in 1986 her father stationed her on the reception desk in the hope of instilling an understanding of what customers want. Today she gleans that intelligence from her inner circle of advisers, plucked from various backgrounds and generations. Many in her closest circle are old friends, such as Sombatsara Teerasaroch who co-ordinates events. “He’s been my consultant for years and has his own events company,” says Pam. “He’s out of this world.” Then there’s Mayuree Chaipromprasith, senior executive VP of business promotion. “She’s been with us 19 years – she carries the mountain."