When we meet at Cafe Leitz by Pacamara at bustling EmQuartier, Anujtha Jaovisidha exudes a warmth of personality that makes conversation relaxed and easy. Fondly known as Ninee, the 44-year-old associate director of Toyota Tsusho (Thailand) and general manager of its corporate planning department is the granddaughter Suchin Jaovisidha—who founded the company—and eldest daughter of Lt Chan and Penparn Jaovisidha.
Ninee completed her bachelor’s degree in economics at Chulalongkorn University before going on to read international political economy for her master’s degree at the University of Warwick. Once free of academia she went to work as an economist at the Bank of Thailand, where for five years she was responsible for analysing the manufacturing sector. Prior to joining the family business in 2006, she also had a three-year stint as a bond trader at Thanachart Securities.
Using her experience in economics, Ninee helped Toyota Tsusho to adapt its financial accounting systems, which led to further innovation with her development of a new division within the company called ‘business matching’.
“Toyota Tsusho is an automotive and industrial parts importer-exporter with departments specialising in different materials—metals, textiles, chemicals and so on. By looking at our financial accounting mechanisms, I got to see the big picture and realised that with the information we have, we could link up clients from one department to another because sometimes their demands overlapped,” she says.
Brimming with youthful energy, Ninee’s passions aren’t limited to the family business. Eight years ago she and her three younger siblings decided to open a small hotel in Hua Hin called Resort de Paskani. “Toyota Tsusho is my main responsibility, but we established JAO Management to run Resort de Paskani. Originally we wanted to have a house in Hua Hin but somehow that idea snowballed into a small hotel with 10 rooms,” she laughs. Following six years of successful operation the hotel was renovated and extended last year. “It may be a cliché but I have learnt that time passes by so quickly, so if you want to do something then get going, don’t think too much about it and try to learn along the way.”
In addition to the hotel, Ninee is also a partner in Kimukatsu, a Japanese tonkatsu pork cutlet restaurant chain, which began operating in January 2018. “Every year I talk to bank managers to get an update on the current economic situation. What’s interesting is that while the automotive industry fluctuates each year, the F&B industry always seems to be growing regardless of the general state of the economy—so I became interested.”
While admitting that she isn’t a particularly good cook, Ninee says she does love good food—something her husband Dr Kirana Limpaphayom regularly picks up on. “When I’m stressed, he takes me out for a nice meal and I always feel better for it,” she laughs. Opportunities for dining businesses come thick and fast and she is preparing for the launch of yet another venture, Japanese fashion jewellery and dessert brand Q Pot, which is due to open at the Takashimaya department store at ICONSIAM at the end of the year.
Ninee and Dr Kirana have known each other since their days at Chulalongkorn University. “He currently works in Indonesia, so we only get to meet up once or twice a month. When I’m free I fly over to see him and vice versa,” she smiles. “We don’t have any problem with the distance, perhaps because we got used to it when I was studying at Warwick in the UK.” Both keen golfers, when they do get together they like to relax by playing a round or two with friends.”
(More society profiles: Suriyon Sriorathaikul Wants To Bring A Little More Beauty In This World)