Dr. Manu Chiaravanond, a well-known Thai philanthropist and the Chief Executive Officer of Thailand’s premier seed firm, Chia Tai Co., Ltd, passed away on October 28 at the age of 63.
Born in 1954, Manu was the tenth of 12 siblings fathered by legendary agribusiness entrepreneur, Choncharoen Chiaravanond, who cofounded Chia Tai with his older brother, Chia Ek Chor in 1921.
After finishing primary school in Bangkok, Manu continued his secondary schooling at Salesian College, near Melbourne in Australia, before finally graduating from Davis Senior High School in Davis, California, USA.
Manu went on to obtain his Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from UC Davis, before pursuing a Masters of Arts in Business Administration from the US International University in San Diego, California.
Upon returning to Thailand in 1979, he joined the family business, initially as Manager of the firm’s Agri Equipment division, before being promoted to Manager of the Fertilizer division in 1983- a position he held until 1991, when he was promoted as President to oversee the Seed, Fertilizer and Plant Protection units of the CP Group. He was then appointed as Chia Tai’s Chief Executive Officer in 2008 and remained in office until October 2017 for nine years.
Manu’s dedication, contributions and service were not exclusive to his family, colleagues and friends. He volunteered the little spare time he had in philanthropic roles and initiatives that contributed towards the betterment of the industry and community at large.
He led two consecutive terms as President of Thai Fertilizer and Agricultural Supplies Association from 2000 to 2003. He was appointed as the Honorary Advisor of Thai Crop Protection Association from 2006 to 2017, during which he also served in parallel to the Advisory Board of Thai Fertilizer and Agricultural Supplies Association. Since 2008, he contributed his service to the Fertilizer Pricing Subcommittee in the Thai Chamber of Commerce for nine years. Under the Royal Patronage of Her Majesty the Queen, he was dedicated to the Committee of the Foundation for the Volunteer’s Defense from 2013 to 2017. He was also the Director for Rural Development Foundation and Wat Samphanthawong School in Bangkok.
He has made countless contributions to agricultural research and community development through charitable initiatives and student scholarships.
Formally recognizing his contributions in the agriculture sector, the Faculty of Agricultural Research and Development at Kasetsart University in Kamphaeng Saen bestowed upon him an Honorary PhD in 2011.
Indeed, Dr. Manu led a rich life and will be remembered as a kind, generous, positive and down-to-earth leader who was dedicated to his work, family, colleagues and friends. As remembered by his close colleagues and relatives, he possessed great perseverance and acted for the benefit of public at large. Anybody who met him would say that his smile was one of the rare ones, but when he smiled, the world smiled with him.
His simple life philosophy and the virtue of care ethics left behind an unforgettable impression on those who had known him. When he wasn’t working, taking part in charity or spending time with his family, he was an avid golfer and gardener.
The Asia and Pacific Seed Association (APSA) mourns the passing of Dr. Manu.
The world is a better place because of him and he will be sorely missed by those who had the privilege to know him.