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Vanchai Chirathivat, Head of Thailand’s Central Groups, Dies Age 84

Vanchai Chirathivat, head of Thailand’s Central Group, has died at the age of 84. He had been suffering from prostate cancer for a while and, according to family, died peacefully at Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok on Saturday. He is survived by four sons and a daughter.

Central Group started out as a small general store in Thonburi in the 1940s. Through hard work, perseverance and an ability to think ahead, the Chirathivat family managed to create a national empire that now includes some of Thailand’s most popular and most successful department stores, hotels and restaurants.

Not surprising really, as out of all the large Thai-owned businesses, Central Group really does seem to understand what their customers want — both Thai and foreign customers — so it’s no wonder they have been so successful.

The Central Group was headed for many years by Mr. Vanchai’s brother, Samrit. Mr. Vanchai took over the chairmanship of Central Group in 1992 when his brother died, and moved the company forward even more.

The Chirathivat family is now the second richest family in Thailand, with an estimated wealth around $9 billion. The wealth is shared by a large group of family members.

Funeral services for Mr. Vanchai will be held at Wat Debsirin (Debsirin Temple)  until September 21st.

In lieu of flowers, The Chirathivat family is asking that donations be made to the Tiang Chirathivat Foundation, a non-profit foundation named after Mr. Vanchai’s father that is involved in various forms of charitable work throughout the Kingdom.