Suthidej Thakolsri's Passion For Numbers And Consumer Goods
For Suthidej Thakolsri there was only ever going to be one subject to study at university, and that was maths. The head of one of the country’s biggest fast moving consumer goods companies says, “I’ve always liked logic and problem-solving. It’s why I chose to study maths at the University of Hartford in the States. Besides, I’m terrible with languages. I’ve been going back and forth between Thailand and Japan for over 30 years but my Japanese is still atrocious!”
While Neo Corporate may not be a household name, it is a good bet that the vast majority of households across the country have at home at some point one or more of its products. Think fabric conditioners, softeners and liquid detergents including D-Nee, Fineline, Smart and Tomi, as well as personal care and grooming products such as BeNice shower cream and Eversense, Vevite and Tros deodorants.
“After I graduated, I worked for my family’s business before starting Neo. Our family has always been in trade. My grandfather owned an ice factory and a lumber business. As I grew older I became interested in the consumer sector and saw a gap in the market. Back then many household cleaning products were quite rudimentary and I felt there was space for better quality in the market. I’m a consumer myself and I personally wouldn’t want to use something of inferior quality. So I started the business with a focus on product standards and customer wellbeing.”
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Married to the company’s marketing director Patama—the couple have two daughters, Nitchamon and Nissara—Suthidej explains that he has always been goal-oriented and driven. “I’m someone who wants to achieve targets almost as soon as they are set,” he laughs. “Choose to do things that you love, that way you can give it your all. I didn’t expect Neo Corporate to grow into what it is today. I wasn’t focused on becoming wealthy when I started. I only thought that it would be good for our customers to get value for their money. It’s about thinking long-term instead of aiming for a short-term profit. It makes me happy that when people see the Neo Corporate label, they know that it’s a product they can trust.”
Walking around the spacious Neo Corporate headquarters, the 56-year-old explains that he strives for a work environment that encourages creativity and takes into account employee wellbeing. Indeed, the modern architecture of the building, with its impressive octagonal facades reflecting a beehive, has been designed with the notion of connecting employees with the surrounding ecosystem. “I want to encourage a happy workplace. We have our own rooftop garden in which we grow herbs and vegetables that are then used in the central canteen for staff meals. We also have a beehive up there. I love doing a bit of gardening and minding the bees when I have time. It is very relaxing and I find it a great way to relieve work-related stress. There is so much artifice in modern life that it’s good to be able to reconnect with nature.”
With Neo Corporate expanding in Indochina, China and the US, and having opened a two billion baht purpose-built integrated manufacturing plant in Pathum Thani earlier this year, Suthidej is going to be goal-setting like never before—and making good use of his rooftop sanctuary when he feels the need to decompress.
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