The names of seven new cabinet appointees were unveiled in the Royal Gazette on Thursday, drawing a “passable” verdict from critics.
The Gazette named Predee Daochai as the new finance minister and Supattanapong Punmeechaow as both energy minister and deputy prime minister in the reshuffle.
Predee, a former co-president of Kasikornbank and former chair of the Thai Bankers’ Association, replaces Uttama Savanayana.
Supattanapong, a former director of PTT Global Chemical Plc, fills a void left by Sontirat Sontijirawong and is expected to lead the economic policy team left by former deputy prime minister Somkid Jatusripitak.
Foreign minister Don Pramudwinai is another deputy prime minister and Anucha Nakasai is the PM’s Office minister, replacing Tewan Liptapanlop.
Anek Laothamatas gets the higher education, science and innovations portfolio left vacant after Suvit Maesincee resigned from the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) along with Uttama and Sontirat.
Suchat Chomklin is the new labour minister and his new deputy is former cabinet spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat.
The Action Coalition for Thailand Party (ACTP) has swapped the labour portfolio for the higher education, science and innovations post once controlled by the PPRP.
The new positions are effective after the seven take the oath of office before His Majesty the King.
Anek reacted to the news by saying he had several projects in mind to streamline the work of the higher education ministry and planned to turn it into a “nation-building” ministry.
Somjai Phagaphasvivat, an academic specialising in economics and politics, said the reshuffle was generally acceptable.
Somjai was particularly impressed by the naming of Predee as finance minister, citing his familiarity with investors and great experienced in the field.
He said it was more crucial for the nation that Predee worked with other economic ministries and agencies to execute economic revitalisation measures designed to rescue sectors hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, including tourism, trade and agriculture.
Former election commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn questioned the decision to give Don and Supattanapong two jobs each.
Overseeing their own ministries would be hard enough without the heavy workload of being deputy prime ministers, he said.