As Thais try to rebuild their shattered economy, Amaret Sila-on is helping to lead the way. The 65-year-old former Commerce Minister has a hand in just about every key reform effort. He chairs the agency in charge of cleaning up the financial sector. He is the new chairman of the Stock Exchange of Thailand. He sits on a panel investigating the central bank's role in last July's baht collapse. And he serves on other committees to reform the country's schools and bureaucracy.
Amaret wins respect because of his tough skin. Last year, he resigned as director of the financial cleanup because of political interference. He returned when new Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai promised him a free hand. Now, he is resisting calls to prosecute central bankers for their role in the baht fiasco. "If they committed criminal acts, we have 10 years to go after them," he says. "We don't have 10 years to restructure the financial system. We have to get on with that job first."