In a recent announcement, Sophon Suwannarat, the current Governor of Chaiyaphum Province, will assume the role of Governor of Phuket starting from the start of next month. Phuket is seen as one of the most prestigious postings for a Governor post. Provincial Governors in Thailand are appointed by the central government and not elected.
Sophon Suwannarat, who has been serving as Governor of Chaiyaphum for just a year, starting his tenure there on October 1 last year.
Prior to his role in Chaiyaphum, Mr. Sophon held the position of Inspector General at Thailand’s Ministry of Interior from December 15, 2021, to September 30, 2022. Before that, he served as Deputy Governor of Loei Province from October 1, 2017, to December 14, 2021.
Mr. Sophon, 58 years old, is not due to retire from government service until October 1, 2025.
Meanwhile, the outgoing Phuket Governor, Narong Woonciew, recently completed a 2 week ordainment as a monk at a temple in Lamphun province as part of merit-making before his official retirement as Governor of Phuket on September 30.
Governor Narong then returned to Phuket and took up his official duties again on September 15.
Governor Narong took on the role of Phuket Governor in June 2020, replacing Phakaphong Tavipatana, who faced criticism for his handling of local Covid-19 policies, including some quite severe lockdowns which lasted many weeks, and cut off parts of the island from local travel, separating families. Over 100,000 people left the island during this time, a drain of skills and employees that has remained difficult to replace.
Mr. Phakaphong was subsequently shifted on as Governor of Phetchaburi.
Before his appointment in Phuket, Governor Narong, a native of Phatthalung, had previously served as Governor of Chaiyaphum Province.