HRM Asia Watch List 2018: Agapol Na Songkhla

The Chief People Officer of Thailand's "national champion" company Thai Beverage has had an impressive career journey so far.
By: | October 5, 2018

The HRM Asia Watch List 2018 (#hrmwatchlist), brought to you by Armstrong Craven, showcases the brightest next-generation HR leadership talent from across Southeast Asia.



Agapol Na Songkhla is a quintessential multi-hyphenate.

HRM Asia Watch List

Agapol Na Songkhla

Chief People Officer, Thai Beverage

Based in: Bangkok

HR focus areas: Transformation, Engagement, Human Capital Development

Favourite aspect of HR: “That the profession can transform people and help them realise their full potential. “

Career-defining moments: “Transforming our HR practice into a Human Capital mission in 2015.”

He is fluent in Thai, Japanese, and English, and succeeded in the broadcast, consulting, and banking worlds before finding his way into HR.

In his ongoing role as Chief People Officer of Thai Beverage, Songkhla has the hefty task of overseeing a 59,000 strong workforce.

Only half of that figure comprises of employees based in Thailand; the rest are spread across Southeast Asian nations including Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Myanmar, working for iconic food and beverage brands such as F&N and Oishi.

“ThaiBev has grown from a national champion status, and it’s not stopping,” says Songkhla.

From his vantage point, strategically planning for such business growth has been both challenging and fun.

“We’re putting great effort towards creating regional capabilities, and establishing trust in our new markets.”

Prior to joining ThaiBev, Songkhla also clocked in a stint as Head of Strategy and Transformation, at TMB Bank; just one of a few high-level strategic functions he served during his eight years there.

And he’s bringing all that business experience – along with his years as a principal and project lead at the Boston Consulting Group – to bear at ThaiBev, as he works with his people team there to bring transformation to the next level.

After all, he points out, “Transformation is never-ending.”

Another current focus is the embrace of the multi-generational workforce. That does not just mean catering to so-called “digital” millennials, but also to baby boomers reaching or passing retirement age.

“It’s about inspiring the idea that people are at the center of how we do things,” he explains. “I’m proud to be able to say that we believe in the potential of people – and that we are able to get that journey moving for not just us, but for our partners as well.”

The HRM Asia Watch List aims to showcase the up and coming generation of HR leadership talent in Southeast Asia. The list will be unveiled daily between September 27 and October 19, 2018. Check the dedicated archive for the latest updates, follow #hrmwatchlist on social media, or see below. 

Introduction | Welcome address by Tom Mason

Profile #1: Jaspreet Kakar | Profile #2: Dianne Goette | Profile #3: Chen Fong Tuan

Profile #4: Felicia Teh | Profile #5: Monica Oudang | Profile #6: Evangeline Chua

Profile #7: Agapol Na Songkhla | Profile #8: Clayton Tan | Profile #9: Tony Tan

Profile #10: Vanessa Mercado-Maningas | Profile #11: Jahja Soenarta | Profile #12: Minn Yan

Profile #13: Rudy Afandi | Profile #14: Norazlina Idris

Profile #15: Naveen Chhabra | Profile #16: Monir Azzouzi