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  • Monday, August 27, 2018 17:24 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Regents International School Pattaya students shine thanks to our best ever IGCSE and GCSE result.

    IGCSE results 2018

    Congratulations to our students on their outstanding GCSE and IGCSE results this year, our best EVER!

    Regents International School Pattaya students' results have exceeded the UK average for GCSEs (General Certificate of Secondary Education) and IGCSEs (International GCSE) with 85% students achieving A*- C grades.

    "I’m so proud of the outstanding achievements of all of our students. This year has been our best ever results and demonstrates our belief that all of our students can achieve more than they think possible. They are now starting the prestigious International Baccalaureate Programme (IBDP) and we are very confident in their future success," Sarah Osborne-James, Principal of Regents International School Pattaya said.

    Amos Turner-Wardell, Head of Secondary at Regents International School Pattaya, was overjoyed with the results, stating: “The percentage of students gaining the prestigious Grade 9 is phenomenal. Previously only 2% of UK English Language students were successful in gaining the Grade 9 and at Regents 17% students gained this top exceptional mark. Historically the average percentage of A/A* in the UK is 20%, at Regents we secured 44% of those top end grades. We are so proud of our students and watching their faces today as they embark on the reputable IBDP was an amazing experience! Go Regents!”.

    The GCSE and IGCSE are internationally-respected qualifications studied by students aged 14-16 years old. Respected by universities, they cover a broad range of subjects including languages, humanities, social sciences, mathematics, computer science and more.

    The IGCSE is one of the most academically challenging qualifications currently on offer to 14-16 year old students worldwide. It provides our students with an excellent foundation to be able to embark on and succeed in the IBDP.

    The IBDP is the gold standard in international pre-university qualifications. In total, IB programmes have been offered to more than 1.1 million students in 146 countries. The two-year IBDP is academically challenging and highly-respected by universities around the world. With its strong emphasis on experience-based learning it is also an excellent fit with Regents’ own Global Citizenship philosophy.

    The continued success in GCSE and IGCSE results is a testament to Regent International School Pattaya’s high academic standards, excellent teaching and the hard work and dedication of students. Students continue to excel and outperform UK national averages.  

    • 44% of all GCSE and IGCSE grades achieved by Regent International School Pattaya students achieved A* or A.
    • 12% gained a prestigious Grade 9 top score in the world.
    • The percentage of our students achieving five A* - C grades, including English and Maths at GCSE and IGCSE, was 85%.

    These exceptional results are the culmination of the hard work and dedication of our students, our ambitious approach and the support of our excellent teachers. On behalf of our school community, we would like to take this opportunity to thank our teachers for always inspiring and challenging our students to achieve more than what they may have thought possible.

    A continuation of the English National Curriculum, the full two-year program features a combination of coursework and exam work. Students will generally take eight and upon passing are awarded qualifications in a full range of core subjects including languages, sciences, humanities, social sciences, arts and design and mathematics. Top universities around the world look to these qualifications as a benchmark of academic performance when considering applications.


  • Monday, August 27, 2018 15:41 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Successful Launch of the new West LMX

    West’s official launch of the New LMX Sports Racer prototype at Bira International Circuit was an overwhelming success with over 70 people making the 2 hour trip from Bangkok to the track. A number of race drivers and team managers joined us on the day, with test drives by local professional drivers Jack Lemvard, Kantadhee Kusiri and up and coming Danish driver Victor Conrad.

    After some demonstration laps earlier in the day by factory test driver, Lionel Lefebvre, West then conducted a formal presentation unveiling the technology and end engineering development involved in the hi-tech LMX sports racer.

    Lefebvre Lionel comments:
    “It is an incredible moment to drive a car that we have built from the ground up and to be able to see that it has extraordinary performance in every point”

    Those who drove the car we astounded at the speed and sure-footed handling of the vehicle with all drivers commenting on how late they can brake into a corner and the high corner speed. Comments from Jack Lemvard were: “The car was so much fun and far easier to drive than I thought and had a blast.”. Victor Conrad: “The downforce on the car was incredible and the traction was awesome. The speed was unbelievable, I loved it from the first drive.”

    Even West’s new COO, Dean Chapman, did a few laps at the end of the day, commenting “After seeing the car built here locally in Thailand it’s amazing to feel how fantastic it is on track. It’s completely different compared to any other category here in Thailand as it has been engineered to be a race car and not modified from a road car.”

    Our strategic partners, Lenso, RunStop, Profender, and Motul set up displays on the day, and during the official section, RunStop and Profender also presented to our visitors.

    Overall it was a very successful day that was enjoyed by all.


  • Thursday, August 23, 2018 16:03 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Best Western® to Launch Brand New Hotel in Akihabara, Tokyo’s Vibrant Center of Electronics and Otaku Culture

    Best Western Hotels & Resorts has unveiled plans to launch a brand new hotel in the heart of Tokyo’s Akihabara district, the home of Japan’s famous otaku culture and electronics shops.

     Scheduled to open its doors in October 2018, Best Western Hotel Fino Tokyo Akihabara is a stylish, state-of-the-art midscale hotel that puts guests in the center of the action. Located in the Chiyoda ward of downtown Tokyo, Akihabara is the spiritual home of Japanese youth culture, with colorful consumer electronics stores lining the lively streets, alongside shops and cafés specializing in manga and anime.

    The new hotel will feature 80 contemporary rooms, all equipped with comfortable beds and cutting-edge facilities. Every morning, guests can start their day with buffet breakfast featuring a selection of Japanese and international dishes plus high quality coffee. Then throughout the day, a hotel vending machine will offer quick snacks and drinks.

    The central location and modern facilities of Best Western Hotel Fino Tokyo Akihabara will make it the perfect option for business and leisure travelers seeking a convenient, well-connected and affordable place to stay.

    “Buzzing with life day and night, Akihabara is one of Asia’s most exciting and iconic urban areas. Best Western Hotel Fino Tokyo Akihabara is an exceptional new hotel that will provide guests with international accommodation and services in the heart of this dynamic district,” commented Olivier Berrivin, Best Western Hotels & Resorts’ Managing Director of International Operations - Asia.

     “This launch marks our latest partnership with Fino Hotels Co., Ltd. in Japan. I am confident that this superb midscale hotel will become extremely popular with all guests, whether they are seeking to soak up the pop culture of Akihabara Electric Town or simply need a convenient base for their next Tokyo business trip,” Olivier added.

    Located less than 400 meters from Suehirocho Station and Naka-Okachimachi Station on the Tokyo Metro, and just 17km from Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport, Best Western Hotel Fino Tokyo Akihabara is highly accessible for local and overseas travelers.

    The new property will become the fifth Best Western hotel in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area, following Best Western Tokyo Nishikasai, Best Western Tokyo Nishikasai Grande, Best Western Rembrandt Hotel Tokyo Machida and Best Western Yokohama. It also joins a growing portfolio of 17 Best Western hotels and resorts located all across Japan.

    For more information or reservation, visit here

  • Thursday, August 23, 2018 13:29 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Best Western® Hotels & Resorts Brings BW Signature Collection® by Best Western to Asia with Exquisite Lakeside Resort in Prachinburi, Thailand

    Best Western Hotels & Resorts will introduce its newest brand, BW Signature Collection by Best Western, to Asia for the first time this year, following the signing of an exquisite lakeside resort - Tawaravadee Resort - in Thailand’s historic Prachinburi province.

    Nestled in Thailand’s verdant countryside, approximately 160km from Bangkok, this low-rise resort was inspired by the ancient Dvaravati culture that thrived in the area between the 6th and 11th centuries.

    “We are excited to debut BW Signature Collection by Best Western to the Asia market with the Tawaravadee Resort,” said Ron Pohl, Senior Vice President and Chief Operations Officer for Best Western Hotels & Resorts. “Launched in 2017, this soft brand allows upper-midscale hotels and resorts to retain their unique individuality, while also harnessing the world-class hospitality of Best Western. Tawaravadee Resort is perfectly suited for this concept, as its rich character and design, combined with our renowned service, is sure to provide travelers with a one-of-a-kind experience when visiting Thailand’s beautiful countryside.”

    Light, bright and exuding tropical elegance, this expansive rural retreat is suitable for every occasion. Surrounded by lush greenery, reflective lotus ponds and tropical plants, the hotel features 199 rooms and suites, ranging from traditional Thai rooms with classical local décor to large, luxurious lakeside suites.

    Guests have a choice of dining options, as the resort’s restaurant is open all day and specializes in Thai, pan-Asian and international cuisine with views of the pool, and the Lobby Lounge serves drinks and snacks throughout the day. In addition, the karaoke rooms are ideal for evening parties.

    During the day, guests can cool off in the tropical outdoor pool, work out in the fitness center or be pampered in the serene spa, which features massage areas and a sauna. The resort also offers a wide range of activities, including tennis, badminton, cycling, snooker, and a golf driving range. Alternatively, guests can head out and explore the local area, which features forests, waterfalls and ancient ruins.

    Tawaravadee Resort, BW Signature Collection by Best Western, is also the perfect venue for meetings and events, with extensive function space including an 800-guest convention hall and several other meeting rooms that can cater for between ten and 200 delegates.

    BW Signature Collection was created especially for hotels like this. Tawaravadee Resort is a spectacular independent property that perfectly blends its local heritage with international facilities. Within driving distance of Suvarnabhumi Airport, this charming resort is perfect for all types of occasions, from romantic couples’ retreats to fun-filled family holidays. It is also a superb setting for corporate retreats and large-scale events,” commented Olivier Berrivin, Best Western Hotels & Resorts’ Managing Director of International Operations - Asia.

    As a member of our BW Signature Collection by Best Western brand, Tawaravadee Resort will now benefit from Best Western’s global support network and commitment to excellence, while guests will receive world-class service, excellent facilities, and the ability to earn Best Western Rewards® points,” Olivier added.

    Owned by My Green Resident Co., Ltd., Tawaravadee Resort is scheduled to launch under the BW Signature Collection by Best Western brand in the third quarter of 2018.

    Best Western Hotels & Resorts has identified Thailand as one of its key target markets. At present, the company operates nine hotels and resorts across the Kingdom, covering five of its brands: Best Western®, Best Western Plus®, Best Western Premier®, BW Premier Collection® by Best Western and SureStay Plus® Hotel by Best Western.

    But this nationwide portfolio is expected to increase, as Best Western has 17 new properties in the pipeline for Thailand. In addition to the launch of BW Signature Collection by Best Western, the company will introduce Vīb®, its vibrant and modern millennial-focused hotel concept, to Thailand later this year.

  • Thursday, August 23, 2018 12:05 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Forest Rescue: 'Saving trees is our way of life'

    Khun Vasanai Pakapongpan, VP of Corporate Marketing and Communications, led an MQDC media group interview on the Forest Rescue campaign, run by The Forestias, at J. Walter Thompson Bangkok, FYI Center.

    "The Forestias has developed a project under the 'Imagine Happiness' concept, which aims to create 30 rai of natural forests with residents living harmoniously in the ecosystem. It shows that we greatly value nature and the environment. It is the motive and challenge for creating Forest Rescue campaign," he said

    "Within a month of running the campaign, the team has been notified of more than 50 trees that have been growing for a long time but now face being cut down. The owners also want to save their lives and have chosen The Forestias as these trees' permanent home. We expect the team to save hundreds of tree lives this year. We need to point out to people that trees are living beings. Saving trees is our way of life. The Forest Rescue campaign is committed to providing a voice and building social activities in the future."

    Forest Rescue gives the public a chance to save urban trees. If you know of a tree at risk of being cut down, simply post a photo and the tree's location along with #ForestRescue. The Forest Rescue team of experts will then come with a truck and crane to relocate the tree to a safe new home. To follow the team's work and find out how to save your local tree, go to

  • Thursday, August 23, 2018 11:32 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    WHA Group Holds First English Boot Camp for Community School Students

    As a staunch supporter of education for children, WHA Group has been proactively attending to the various needs of schools, teachers and students in neighboring communities through different activities to enhance the educational experience. Aside from providing material and financial support, the company aims to give students and teachers alike the opportunity to expand their horizons and knowledge.

    Developing the communication skills of the children in English has been a priority for WHA from the start, engaging in activities and programs such as Adopt-a-School, Teachers’ Camp, etc., which help ensure the youth today with the right tools to seek fresh opportunities and get good jobs in the future.

    Young teachers bring language skills through English Bootcamp for Students

    Through the initiative of Ms. Siyaphas Chantachairoj, Director – Corporate Marketing, WHA Corporation PCL, the English Boot Camp was born in August this year, bringing a fresh approach of learning the language outside the classroom. This year, Ms. Grace and Ms Frang, two young volunteer teachers on school break in Thailand, contributed their English skills and made learning fun at the Ban Khao Hin School in Chonburi province. During the 2-day activity, the WHA team and the young teachers accepted the challenge to host the Boot Camp for approximately 150 students a day from P 5 and P 6, divided into different groups. They organized a series of practical games and educational activities that effortlessly merged fun with learning.

    The games and activities were light and enjoyable, making the children learn the vocabulary in a practical way that they can relate to daily situations. Among the main themes were “cooking” where the names of food and ingredients were learned while the children prepared sandwiches and other snacks. The “shopping” activity consisted of enriching their vocabulary by purchasing everyday items such as fruits, food and school materials, using the correct phrases and sentences. Another exercise was “My Dream,” where the children were asked to match pictures that focused on different jobs and occupations such as teacher, nurse, doctor and others. They were also encouraged to express themselves verbally while playing games to enhance their cognitive skills. In all the activities, vocabulary and grammar were emphasized, as well as self-expression and basic cognitive skills.

    One of the most fun-filled activities involved learning to give and follow directions in English. The children were divided into groups and asked to "guide" their blindfolded teammates by giving instructions to reach the "finish line".

    Each student received a booklet prepared by WHA Team containing the English vocabulary that they could short note and review of their learned that day.

    "Being able to communicate in English, even at a basic level, can lead to opportunities as it gives one an edge over others. The aim of this WHA English Bootcamp is to make the children feel comfortable in English, so that they learn to express themselves. The teachers motivated them by organizing interesting activities in a fun atmosphere, to enrich their vocabulary, improve their grammar and support their communicative skill development.” Ms. Siyaphas commented. “WHA would like to see them get better opportunities in life if they can communicate in English. Education is an important factor in our daily lives and one that is particularly important in helping children from neighboring communities."

    Learning beyond the classroom is a great way to impart listening, reading and writing skills to the young. With the goal of creating sustainable relationships with local stakeholders, WHA has been playing a proactive role to become an essential partner for schools located near its industrial estates, and to support learning so that the students can achieve more and enjoy their learning experience at the same time.

  • Thursday, August 23, 2018 11:09 | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    McConnell Dowell has received a number of industry awards over the years, in recognition of the complex, innovative projects we undertake in collaboration with our partners and customers.  

    We are excited to announce that this year the Mangere Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) Upgrade Project for Watercare has won the Hirepool Construction Excellence Awards 2018 for Category 4 – Projects with a value greater than NZ$100M.

    Other awards that this impressive project has already won include:  

    • 2018 Hynds Construction Award for Projects greater than NZ$25M
    • 2018 IPWEA New Zealand, Best Public Works Project greater than $5M
    • 2016 Risk New Zealand, Excellence in Building Risk Management 

    Mangere BNR delivered by the McConnell Dowell/HEB JV competed against one other contender in this category, the SH1 Russley Road Upgrade in Christchurch, another one of our projects, this time delivered by the McConnell Dowell / Downer Joint Venture. 

    The Glen Eden Storage Tank Sewer Upgrade also received a Highly Commended certification in its category for projects between NZ$5-20M, in recognition for the highly innovative approach we took to the project by constructing a tank using an innovative caisson method to minimise disruption to the community.

    At McConnell Dowell our purpose is “Providing a Better Life”. Our Vision is to be a leader in the delivery of infrastructure. Our Values are a complete commitment to safety and care, honesty and integrity, customer focus, working together, and performance excellence. We believe that these projects exemplify these values and would like to thank our customers, partners and all our staff that worked on these projects for a job well done.

     To view the Mangere BNR project video click  here.

    0L1A1082  Glen Eden Official Photo

  • Tuesday, August 21, 2018 11:59 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Darwin and Gold Coast top performers edging out Cairns, as revenue per room grows

    Gold Coast and Darwin shone as Australia’s best performing hotel markets over the last 12 months, edging Cairns from the top spot – a position that the far North Queensland destination has held for a number of years.  

    This was a key outtake from CBRE’s latest Hotels MarketView report for Q2 2018, which found the Commonwealth Games had significantly contributed to raising RevPAR (revenue per available room) on the Gold Coast by 49% in April 2018, when compared to the previous year. RevPAR highs continued throughout May and June, putting the sparkle back into the Gold Coast economy. 

    CBRE Senior Research Manager Danny Lee said the Gold Coast had been an extremely strong performing during the Commonwealth Games and this continued even after the Games, across all major indicators (ADR, RevPAR and occupancy) – suggesting that the market was back on its feet after a turbulent 2017.   

    “Tourism is experiencing a surge, and the Gold Coast is popular with domestic and international tourists. Growth in visitor nights by international travellers is forecast to increase by 6.8% per annum over the next five years, which is one of the strongest forecasts across all markets,” Mr Lee said.

    “Infrastructure development in the Gold Coast including the $1 billion light rail network, expansion of the Gold Coast Airport, and an emerging health, wellness and knowledge precinct are factors which are attractive for business, population migration and tourists.”

    CBRE Hotels National Director Wayne Bunz added; “The Commonwealth Games has put the Gold Coast on the world stage. You cannot beat that kind of worldwide exposure, and this is expected to lead to strong hotel market performance, off the back of growth in tourist arrivals.”

    CBRE’s MarketView shows that Darwin was the best performing market over the past 12 months, achieving the highest RevPAR increase across major Australian cities. Hotel operators deployed a strategy of cutting room rates substantially to encourage guests to book room nights. This is a turn-around for Darwin as it has struggled since 2014 with a severe economic downturn.
    The report states Darwin registered an annual RevPAR increase of 8.2% to $113, while occupancy grew by 7.8% to 75.2% and ADR was up by 0.3% to $150. Comparably, the Gold Coast RevPAR increased by 7.1% off the back of a 2% increase (to 72.8%) in occupancy and a 5% increase in ADR to $197. 

    Cairns also performed strongly and posted increases across all major indicators. Occupancy grew 0.7% to 84.6%, whilst ADR rose 5.0% to $152 per night, which resulted in RevPAR posting an increase of 5.7% to $128. 

    The strength of the market, which has not seen a new hotel open in almost 20 years, is attracting interest from developers, with Rydges Tradewinds Cairns currently being redeveloped and is scheduled to open its refurbished doors in September this year. Two new hotels, Abbott Street Hotel that is scheduled to open in 2019 and a Bellview site scheduled for opening in 2020 will see more than 600 new rooms come to market.

    On a national level, CBRE’s MarketView shows that international visitor arrivals reached a record high of 8.3 million, up 7.5% on 2017. Annual RevPAR for the year ending June 2018 jumped 3.2% to $144, ADR grew by 1.7% to reach $188 and occupancy recorded 1.4% growth to 76.4%.

    The report also highlights that the national supply pipeline in markets such as Hobart, Perth and Melbourne could have a detrimental effect on the performance of those markets as they struggle to cope with a large influx of rooms. 

    On the investment front, the MarketView highlighted that notable transactions included the sale of Bell City Hotel in Melbourne’s Preston to Gaw Capital for $157 million, following the sale of Brisbane’s Emporium Hotel to Ovolo, for $38 million and Metro Hotel Tower Mill was sold to Interstay Holdings Pty Ltd for $10 million.

    Mr Bunz said; “Whilst buyers remain active in the market, the lack of quality stock available, especially at the top end of the market, is limiting transaction volumes. Foreign investors continue to see Australia as a core market and any large assets will generate considerable interest.”

    For Australian/international news or global stories, follow us on Twitter: @cbreaustralia

  • Friday, August 17, 2018 12:10 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    30 Years of Change in the Thai Retail Market

    Retail property is one of the most complicated types of real estate development because of the constantly changing tastes and needs of consumers.

    The Thai retail property market has changed hugely over the last 30 years since CBRE established an office in Bangkok and change continues at an even faster rate especially with the growth of E-commerce.

    30 years ago, the Bangkok retail property market was limited to a handful of department stores and a few shopping centres like CentralPlaza Ladprao completed in 1982, Amarin Plaza completed in 1985 and the original Siam Centre completed in 1973. The rest of the retail sector was shophouses and wet markets.

    CBRE Research shows that there is now almost 7.5 million square metres of modern retail property in Bangkok, split between shopping centre at 46.5%, big box store at 17.7%, department store at 15.1%, community mall at 14.5% and other formats at 6.1%. There has been rapid growth and change in the range of retail formats and types of tenant.

    Over the last 30 years, we have seen an increased move from traditional retail in wet markets and shophouses to modern retail formats ranging from convenience stores and community malls to giant regional shopping centres such as CentralPlaza Westgate.

    The modern retail format has spread throughout Thailand with many provincial cities now having modern shopping centres.

    The first 7-Eleven convenience store opened in Thailand in 1989 and there are now 10,268 stores in 2018.

    The first big box store was Makro Ladprao in Bangkapi district in 1989 and now Big C, Tesco Lotus and Makro have over 450 big box stores in Thailand.

    The Thai retail market is, like the rest of the world, facing the new challenge of E-commerce.

    In the UK, E-commerce sales are expected to account for 18% of total retail sales in 2018 and 9.5% in the USA.

    Currently, E-commerce sales account for less than 1% of total retail sales in Thailand, but this is expected to grow rapidly as E-commerce platforms and infrastructure, including payment systems and distribution have now been established.

    Retailers will have to adapt to best serve customers in stores and online. Retail developers will have to improve the customer experience through design, decoration, events, tenant mix and customer service.

    Retail landlords will have to create a unique environment that cannot be replicated online, for example by setting aside space for pop-up stores and sharing data with retail tenants to improve marketing.

    “Clicks” will not totally replace “bricks” but will mean that retailers and retail property developers will have to change.  “Simply building a nice glass box and filling it with brand names, will not work anymore, “said Ms. Jariya Thumtrongkitkul, Head of Advisory and Transaction Services - Retail at CBRE Thailand. “Many retailers are trying to pursue an omni-channel approach with both online and offline channels that are fully integrated whereby the digital and physical options complement each other.” 

    The continuous change in consumer behaviour means that retail property development is much more complicated than office development.  It requires hands on management and constant innovation and improvement.  Landlords need to speak to both consumers and tenants daily to understand rapidly changing trends and requirements.

    The level of commitment and expertise needed is very high and unlike hotels, it is rare to subcontract management to a third party in Thailand.

    Even though the economy is improving, retailers, retail landlords and developers face big challenges in adapting to the changing environment caused by E-commerce.

    “The shopping centre is one of the most successful business models and will not fade away, but competition from E-commerce means that the model will have to evolve to survive,” concluded Ms. Jariya.

  • Friday, August 10, 2018 11:40 | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Alexandre Ricard

    Alexander Richard

    Having a famous surname did not mean Pernod Ricard rolled out the red carpet for a young Alexandre Ricard. So why was being rejected by the world's second-largest premium spirits and wine company the best thing that could have happened? Peter Crushfinds outs

    By his own admission, Alexandre Ricard would much rather talk about his business, Pernod Ricard , than himself. After all the Paris-based drinks producer owns a host of household brands from Absolut Vodka, Jameson whiskey, and Beefeater gin, to Mumm champagne. However his rise from rejection to running the third-generation drinks maker is an illustrative insight into the company’s culture.

    “I grew up having parents who told me I could do anything I wanted, as long as I did it well,” he recalls.

    And although he grew up imbued in the business (he tells a tale of visiting distributors with his grandfather when he was a child—and remembering everyone’s name) Ricard admits he was never actively encouraged to join it, even when he initially tried in the 1990s.

     “Did [my parents] want me to join? I don’t know, I’ve never asked them, but in 1996, after graduating, I wrote a letter and sent my resume to my uncle who transmitted it to [human resources (HR)] asking if I could join the company. However, the interview did not go well and I left the building and ended up walking into Andersen Consulting instead.”

    While some might think it’s a brave HR department member who grills the founder’s grandson, it proves the point that this is a business where sentimentality for the name won’t cut it on its own.

    “My uncle always told me my name isn’t an advantage, but nor should it be an inconvenience,” says Ricard.

    “So I spent eight years outside the business, ending up at Morgan Stanley, where I really learned about business. It was only after this that I resubmitted my CV—ironically to the very same [human resources director], as he was still there. The first thing I said when I got an interview was that my original, terrible, meeting was the best thing that could have happened to me.”

    Once in, it was ambition—rather than lineage—that saw Ricard rise quickly up the ranks, gaining experience in Hong Kong as managing director of Pernod Ricard Asia Duty Free, before moving to Ireland in 2008 to head up the Jameson whiskey brand.

    “It was in 2011 that I got my big break,” he says.

    “That’s when Pierre Pringuet called me and asked me if I wanted to join his executive board.” By this point Ricard was still only 39.

    “The fact there have been other non-family CEOs reiterates the fact that what matters most is that the person with the top job has the capabilities,” says Ricard, when asked whether it is inevitable that family members will take control.

    “It’s certainly not set in stone that it goes to a family member, there’s no golden rule,” he repeats.

    But with this chief executive bearing the name of his grandfather, Paul Ricard, creator of the Ricard pastis aperitif in 1932—even Alexandre must accept that as long as he’s the head, which he has been since 2015, his bloodline is not something he can readily escape—despite what he might initially say.

    “All the people working for us are our family,” the debonair 45-year-old says with upmost sincerity. It’s quite a telling quip. For even though Pernod Ricard is the result of two family-run businesses joining forces—Pernod and Ricard in 1975—today it has quite a fluid definition of what ‘family-run’ actually means. It’s a business where family, genealogically at least, is neither required from a stewardship point of view, nor is it expected of the descendants of Ricard himself. The structure of the business is such that the Ricard family maintains control via a 14% shareholding—the largest single stake—and 20% of voting rights. This is also what Ricard calls a “reference shareholder”, ensuring the long-term value-creation and sustainability of the business.

    Chief executives have arrived from outside the Ricard family, such as Pierre Pringuet from 2008 to 2015. It could be purely happenstance that Pernod Ricard is back in family scion control and that it’s just as likely it won’t be so in the future.

    “There were many other talents in the running to be CEO,” says Ricard, recalling the sudden death of his uncle, and the company’s chairman, Patrick Ricard in 2012. That was the point when Alexandre was thrust unexpectedly into the limelight, though he was already managing director and had worked his way up the ranks and headed Irish Distillers, the makers of Jameson in Dublin.

    “That August I was interviewed by the board members and nominations committee, but while some might talk about succession as being my ‘duty’, no it wasn’t that,” he says.

    “It was a normal part of good governance and the role of the board was to ensure the right CEO was chosen—one who is up to the job. My surname might be cool, but if I hadn’t demonstrated any merit, I wouldn’t have got anywhere.”

    Ricard often mentions “not expecting” to be chief executive. In fact he even jokes that when the board asked him what his top three priorities would be, his reply was: “I can only think of two—grow our topline while performing well, and create a winning mindset.”

    Pringuet wasn’t due to retire (statutorily) as chief executive until 2015, so it was agreed Ricard could benefit from a rare set of circumstances, having three years to prepare for his eventual ascension to both chief executive and chairman (and possibly time to think of that third priority).

    “We [Pierre and I] really got along, and that time enabled me to think hard about the future,” Ricard says.

    Baring all

    Ricard’s arrival resulted in a strategic volte-face, re-aligning the company based on ‘moments of consumption’ rather than specific categories, and identifying ‘moments of conviviality’ that are cross-generational, like parties or ‘hanging out’, with the mantra that when it comes to alcohol, quality should be the focus, not quantity.

    There’s also been realignment of people and marketing efforts around where a specific sub-brand ‘lives’—with brand marketing run by staff local to where production actually happens.

    Pernod Ricard is almost unique in the fact that its brands are only made in their original locations (like Beefeater in London), and recipes are not copied and remade elsewhere in the world.

    Strategic acquisitions have occurred in the first years of Ricard’s tenure, including the purchasing a majority stake in West Virginia-based whiskey maker Smooth Ambler. The young chief executive has also not shied away from offloading brands deemed to be underperforming. These include a number of Mexican brandies early this year.

    A culture of innovation is also vigorously pursued, one which has seen several big hits. Absolut Lime was launched after research found one in four cocktails had a citrus-based element to it. This spring-summer also sees Beefeater’s first foray into flavoured gin, with the launch of the strawberry-infused Beefeater Pink.

    He stripped naked with Absolut employees for a new ad campaign for the “vodka with nothing to hide”.

    “What I think makes a difference is mindset,” says Ricard.

    “It’s like having two opposing sports teams. Nine times out of 10, the technique, or the skills of these athletes will be the same, so to me the only factor that differentiates winning ones from losing ones is mindset.

    “As a business we need to have capacity to embrace change and spot, or be ahead of trends. We need our people to have mindset where opportunity doesn’t make them anxious.”

    “In the same way my parents empowered me to make decisions, I want our own people to feel empowered too. I’d rather people ask for forgiveness for when things go wrong than permission to do something in the first place. I don’t care about failure per se, I care about the cost of failure, but if someone fails quickly, through having tried something, at least the cost of failure will be low. I want to challenge people to take risks.”

    Ricard accepts he’s making these big cultural changes, while still being the custodian of the family’s fortune—something which requires a steady hand. But it’s in these instances, he argues, where the Ricard name does actually help.

    “On the one hand, it grounds me, it ensures I always take decisions that have a long-term view in mind,” he says.

    “But on the other, it gives investors the confidence that decisions I take will have been carefully thought through.”

    And the results suggest this approach has been a success. The latest year-end financials show the Paris-based premium drinks producer, is enjoying exceptional results. Organic growth was up 3.6% in 2017 with revenues topping €9 billion ($10.7 billion), profit is up 5.7%, while in the United Kingdom, the firm is riding the crest of a recent resurgence in gin—sales are up 52% against a global average of 36%. Sales of Beefeater are up 52% in the UK, while Plymouth Gin is up 47%.

    Heritage plays a big part here. Ricard often talks about the DNA of the business being about passion and excitement, and wanting to take advantage of new opportunities.

    Learning curve

    Ricard literally is the DNA, but despite all he’s already done, he is still coy about taking personal credit, preferring to talk-up the culture-creating foundations set out by his grandfather. When pressed though, he does yield—a little.

    “Bearing the name brings responsibility. If I didn't feel capable I wouldn’t have taken it [the CEO job] on.

    “But does a man know everything? No, of course not, I’m on a learning curve. But what gets me going is the people side of the business.”

    For the immediate future, taking advantage of new growth areas is his main agenda and his outlook is in part eastward. It’s not hard to see why. Asia has quickly grown to comprise 40% of Pernod Ricard’s business, and it’s growing at 7% according to the company’s latest published figures, with India growing 9% and China 8%.

    “In India there are 17 to 20 million new consumers entering into the market every year,” Ricard says.

    “We have a lot of clarity in the business about how we leverage these markets more.”

    If it’s the people in the business that really excite him, they’re definitely following his lead. Ricard’s latest employee engagement scores show satisfaction rates in the high 90th percentile. In fact, a small percentage of the business—2%—is actually employee owned.

    The of course comes the inevitable question: What of his own succession? Will the business continue to be a Ricard-run one?

    “I have people in mind,” he says.

    “But obviously, this is the extent of information I can divulge to shareholders. It’s the essential role of a CEO to ensure their own succession is smooth, and for shareholders to know there is a plan in place.”

    Changing tactic then, will there be a change in leadership anytime soon? Ricard is once more pleasantly non-committal, although this time more personal.

    “The moment I don’t enjoy my job, I’ll step down,” he says.

    “Or, I’d step down if the board didn’t think I was doing the right thing. Life’s too short not to have fun.”

    Pernod Ricard is an empire where family can mean staff, but also lineage—and not just the Ricards. There are members of the Pernod family also in the business, as well as several generations of family members from brands it owns, like Jameson. It feels like shareholders wouldn’t mind either way which pool of people their next CEO comes from.

    In the meantime though—and aged just 45—you sense there’s plenty of years ahead in this superbly able third generation Ricard.

    As the man himself put it: “My grandfather once told me the reason we are so successful is not just because we’ve got a great brand, but because we smile when we do business with people. That’s my mantra. As long as I’m smiling I’ll still be here.”


Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce

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