Spotlight on AMCHAM: Vira-anong Chiranakhorn Phutrakul
Shining a light on AMCHAM’s leadership
Vira-anong Chiranakhorn Phutrakul, Citibank
Vice President, Board of Governors
As the first Thai national—and the first woman—to be promoted to run Citibank’s consumer banking business in Thailand, Khun Vira-anong has a high-profile in Krung Thep and beyond. After attending international schools here and in Hong Kong, she headed to the U.S. for college and wound up spending seven years on both the East and West Coasts. Along the way, she picked up an undergraduate degree at Scripps College, endured winter working in New York City, and completed her MBA at Boston College. Although she’s spent her entire career at Citibank, she hasn’t exactly been sitting still: she’s managed both corporate and consumer banking, held regional roles in Hong Kong, and worked in securities and transaction banking. “Constant learning along the way keeps things very interesting,” says the executive. “Opportunities always open up provided you are mobile and ready to take up new challenges.”
How has your experience in the U.S. shaped your career at Citi, and similarly what advantages come from being Thai?
“Living in the U.S., especially during my formative years, helped me become an active
and outgoing person. I love meeting new people and I’m generally not afraid to speak up. That said, being Thai is a great advantage as I understand the language and culture and can be a seamless conduit for my team members and customers.”
What’s your impression of working for an American company?
“At Citi, meritocracy is key, which makes it a typical American company. Everyone has the chance to prosper and excel, regardless of race, gender or culture. It’s highly competitive as you compete with the world, but you learn and work with the best and brightest.”
What’s the most rewarding thing about being on the AMCHAM Board of Governors?
“I feel privileged to work alongside distinguished board members, who come from different industries with years of valuable experience and insights. Our current work is helping the Chamber evolve in the digital age and adapt to changes in the market.”
What is the most valuable benefit of AMCHAM to you personally? And to your company?
“I enjoy meeting and learning from fellow members--many people have become great personal and
work contacts. As for Citi, our corporate objective of enabling growth and progress fits well with the Chamber, so we fully participate in things like advocacy and CSR initiatives.”
What AMCHAM event do you look forward to the most?
“I love the Governors Ball as it is a grand event that raises funds for meaningful initiatives.
I love seeing members all dressed up and enjoying themselves. I’m also looking forward to the “Great and Good Friends” exhibit, which celebrates 200 years of bilateral relations between the U.S. and Thailand. Citi is one of the major sponsors and I look forward to working closely with AMCHAM, which is also a sponsor.”
One fun thing: what’s your favorite food?
“I am quite lucky as Teera, my husband who was also on the Board of Governors, is a great chef (I am NOT) so I love eating at home. Some of my favorite restaurants when I go out: Phillippe for French, Ruen Urai for Thai, and Limoncello for Italian which is also my son’s favorite. I love weekends with my family, especially my son!”