In his role at Thailand’s largest retail property development and investment company, Pakorn Partanapat’s responsibilities not only entail overseeing and boosting sales and marketing functions but also the management of assets that include 30 shopping centres, seven office buildings, two hotels, a residential project and three condominiums. In addition, he has been tasked with strengthening CPN’s organisational structure in readiness for domestic and international expansion. Needless to say, he is a busy man.
As a student Pakorn earned a bachelor’s degree in economics at Thammasat University and an MBA at Columbia University, following which he spent more than 20 years working at Kasikorn Bank where he climbed to the dizzy heights of senior executive vice president and head of the bank’s retail business division.
Since joining CPN last year, Pakorn has been able to put his extensive experience in the field of banking to good use at CPN, primarily because both roles share customer-centric qualities. The retail industry is a highly competitive one and in order for CPN to stay at the top of its game and sustain its leading position, Pakorn explains the importance of recognising that shopping malls are no longer limited to shopping but have become lifestyle destinations in their own right, hubs for dining, family activities, co-working spaces and more. “We challenge ourselves to create centres for life—comfortable spaces offering something for people of all ages, backgrounds and interests. There is an art to creating quality mixed-use retail complexes.”
An ethic at the epicentre of this conceptual framework is the idea that growth and development is a win-win situation for all. “Long term partnerships are very important,” Pakorn says. “Whatever project we undertake, each party—tenant, stakeholder or shopper—should benefit. And it is important that we all work together, bringing our own expertise to offer a beyond expectation experience.”
Overseeing a raft of 30 shopping malls and other properties is no piece of cake and equates to countless meetings. A perk of the job, Pakorn says, is the fact that it involves a great deal of business travel. “I commute regularly to different provinces nationwide, which I enjoy very much,” he explains. “Meeting people and talking to them face to face is the best way to get feedback and inspiration. The trips allow me to explore local lifestyle trends and help to generate new ideas, which I can adapt to our concepts of lifestyle marketing.”
Pakorn compares his leadership position at CPN to the responsibilities of a big brother or a coach and underlines the importance of being an encouraging figure for his team. “Positive thinking, passion and a can-do attitude are three things I always try to cultivate and instil in my team,” he says. Looking ahead there will be plenty of opportunities for the 53-year-old executive to test himself and his colleagues through upcoming projects that include the imminent launch of Central Phuket, a development that encompasses a world-class theme park and the largest aquarium in Thailand. Also on the horizon is Central Village, a luxury shopping destination expected to open in late 2019 in Bangkok that will house 235 local and international brand name boutiques.
While he confesses to being something of a workaholic, even Pakorn appreciates a breather now and then and it is to his vacation home in Khao Yai that he retreats to fully unwind. “I like to do nothing but sleep, rest and eat when I’m there,” he smiles. Keenly interested in learning about different cultures, when he travels abroad for work he also tries to tag on a couple of days for leisure activities. “I enjoy visiting museums and art exhibitions,” he explains. Pakorn is also into collecting art and supporting local artists. In fact, the idea of being an artist is an appealing one to him. “The problem is I am really no good at drawing,” he laughs.
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