Thai Billionaire Charoen Appointed Chairman of Fraser & Neave

Thailand’s richest billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi became chairman of Fraser & Neave Ltd. after his S$13.8 billion ($11.2 billion) takeover of the 130-year-old property and beverage company.

The appointment is effective from Feb. 28, Singapore-based F&N said in a statement yesterday. Charoen, 68, replaces Lee Hsien Yang, who stepped down Feb. 26. Wanna Sirivadhanabhakdi, 69, Charoen’s wife, was named the vice chairman.

Charoen won control of F&N in January after his Jan. 18 offer of S$9.55 a share gained the backing of a majority of shareholders and topped a proposal from rival Overseas Union Enterprise Ltd. The deal gives Charoen control over a company that has assets from soft drinks to serviced apartments across Southeast Asia. The billionaire first invested in F&N in July, setting off a fight for its assets that led to the biggest acquisition of a Singapore-based company.

Pailin Chuchottaworn, president and chief executive officer of PTT Pcl, Thailand’s biggest company, also joined the F&N board, along with Chan Heng Wing and Charles Mak Ming Ying, according to the statement. F&N’s board now has nine members after the appointments.

Lee, the former chief executive officer of Singapore Telecommunications Ltd., is the younger brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

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