A man with many hats, Dr. Santhi Kanoktanaporn is an industry veteran with over 40 years of hands-on experience in driving productivity enhancement initiatives and strategic international development programs. He also has vast experience ranging from product quality control, to environment and waste management consultancy, to the telecom and petrochemical sectors. Dr. Kanoktanaporn took office as the 11th Secretary-General of the Asian Productivity Organization (APO) on 16 September 2016. He was unanimously elected at the 58th Governing Body Meeting held in Jakarta, Indonesia, in April 2016.
Dr. Kanoktanaporn has a PhD in Chemistry from Sunderland Polytechnic in the UK and a Master's in Management from Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration. He is the author of several academic research papers and has translated two books, Power and Love, and Transformative Scenario Planning by Adam Kahane. Before taking his post at the APO Secretariat, Dr. Kanoktanaporn served as the Executive Director of the Thailand Productivity Institute (FTPI) where he was responsible for developing the master plan (2016–2020) for improving productivity in the country for the Ministry of Industry. He also initiated a major restructuring of the FTPI to make it a truly national institution for driving the productivity movement with the aim of transforming it from an implementing agency to the national strategist for productivity.
At the FPTI, he was also responsible for assisting in increasing the competitiveness of the Thai industry and service sectors in the global marketplace by providing expertise in six areas: consultation and training; productivity research; productivity promotion, acting as a productivity knowledge center; publishing; and collaboration with the APO. As the Executive Director, he focused on continuous promotion of the concepts of quality, efficiency, and productivity among the general public and helped businesses realize the importance of enhancing productivity and efficiency through various FTPI projects.
Under his leadership, the FTPI collaborated with the public and private sectors to introduce productivity concepts on a broad scale and improve their competitiveness through development and knowledge transfer. He was also responsible for developing the Sustainable Corporate Index, a self-assessment tool to help Thai companies identify gaps in their roadmaps and action plans to achieve sustainability.
Secretary-General Dr. Kanoktanaporn is also credited with expanding FTPI productivity initiatives through local and international networks for the exchange of data, knowledge, and experience, as well as encouraging organizations in the industry, service, and government sectors to adopt the management excellence guidelines of Thailand Quality Award (TQA) for self-assessment and continuous improvement for sustainable development. Under his guidance, the TQA was conceived as a national productivity strategy and has been effectively used to encourage Thai public and private organizations to strive for sustainable organizational management improvements to enhance national competitiveness.
Early in his career, Dr. Kanoktanaporn also served as the President of the Foundation for Industrial Development for the Management System Certification Institute (Thailand), a not-for-profit foundation under the supervision of the Ministry of Industry, where he was responsible for increasing national competitiveness through standardization and development of personal competency in the public and private sectors to meet international standards. He is also credited with successfully developing the first Thai management system standard, TISI 9999: Sufficiency Economy Guideline for industry. Other roles included serving as the Chairman of the CB Association of Thailand, Country Manager (Thailand) of the US Chamber of Commerce, and Managing Director of Sysmen Company Limited.