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Cover Story: Pitchayatep Yuktasevi on why family comes first

In our inaugural digital issue titled A Family Affair, our cover star and family man, and next-gen Mali executive Pitchayatep Yuktasevi talks about his precious time with family – both at work and at play.  

To most people, the word family conjures some very pleasant cookie-cutter images: parents holding a newborn, a road trip to the beach with dad in the drivers’ seat while the children sing songs in the backseat, conversations at a dinner table, or a family photograph. 

But for others, family is all-encompassing. Especially in our society – one that venerates family above pretty much all else, they’re more than just blood. They shape our personalities, influence our ways of life, and build our future. Often, this future comes in the form of a family enterprise. It’s a gift borne out of hard work and sacrifice that will continue to nurture the next generation if they choose to honour their role of recognising their ancestors’ efforts while building something extraordinary. 

And that’s exactly what Pitchyatep Yuktasevi plans to do for Thailand’s number one dairy company of the past 60 years. The 22-year-old is preparing to take on the Mali Group, the Yuktasevi family-owned dairy empire famed for its condensed milk products. 

The budding executive

As a fourth-generation member of his family, Pitchayatep, affectionately known as Pitchy, has already made his mark. The budding executive has already successfully implemented progressive changes such as repackaging Mali’s signature condensed milk in a more user-friendly Easy Squeeze format and completely revamping the user interface of Mali’s e-commerce website. Only one year out of university, Pitchy’s contributions are already at the level one would expect from a C-suite executive. 

Though his current official role within Mali Group is simply titled executive assistant, it carries much more weight than it implies. “I worked on our physical capital like our water treatment plants and also looked into alternative forms of energy usage such as solar panels to cut down costs and align with our new policy of being environmentally-friendly,” he explains. 

It’s not hard to see why his achievements carry full bragging rights. Much of Pitchy’s school years in the U.K.  were spent developing his work ethic through both his studies and extracurricular activities. Not only was he awarded school colours during his years at Sunningdale School, but he was also a House Captain during his secondary school years at Worth School. By the time he was attending university at the Royal Holloway at the University of London, he had taken on a regional-level student leadership role with the Thai Students Association, hosting events across different universities around the southern region. As the icing on the cake, he’s been quite the sportsman throughout his life taking part in his schools’ rugby, hockey, basketball, and water polo teams, to name a few.  “Sports has helped me develop my cooperative qualities,” he says.

His background surely played a part in preparing him for his role at Mali, but the ever-humble Pitchy credits his can-do attitude and mindset to a life-changing pep talk he received from his headmaster at Sunningdale as a 12-year-old. “I had an incident with a fellow student and my headmaster sat me down for my first real talk about the responsibility I have as someone who’s been given a role in school,” he recounts. “He didn’t yell at me but instead treated me like an adult and that really had an impact on me. Just like what my father used to say to me, it was about upholding myself and not straying from the part. It really changed the way I saw things.”

Looking to the future

Bringing in new perspectives to the family business is the change Pitchy’s mother and Mali Group’s managing director Pim Charusreni had always looked forward to welcoming. Now approaching its 60th anniversary, the Mali Group’s image was due for a refresh. As someone with the advantage of being a part of a generation of digital natives, Pitchy had plenty to bring to the table. “I think we have a very new, youthful kind of management team now coming up,” he enthuses. 

As part of this self-inaugurated Mali New-Gen Team, Pitchy has the support of digital marketing director Koch Charusreni and business development manager Anjida “Film” Karnasuta to help him generate ideas around the digitalisation of Mali’s internal working processes and external marketing efforts. Together with this team, the Mali Group has been able to successfully engage a younger customer base and reach a much wider audience. Their most recent campaign featuring actors Metawin “Win” Opas-iamkajorn and Vachirawit “Bright” Chiva-aree (famously known as BrightWin) was Mali’s first foray into marketing itself towards a mainstream LGBTQ audience, which has garnered the brand favourable praise for embracing change and inclusivity. 

Whilst Pitchy and his new-gen team enjoy helping Mali move forward as a brand, it’s the freedom and autonomy to make decisions that he derives the most satisfaction from. “The older generation really listens to us at a heightened degree that’s never seen before at our company.” Among Mali’s multitude of new and exciting campaigns will be the launch of its first-ever collaboration between Thailand’s top dairy company and a world-renowned malt drink brand, Mali x Ovaltine – an Ovaltine-flavoured condensed milk. “​​This is a product that I’m decently proud of in terms of the new outlook on packaging, flavour, and quality. I think it will really grasp the youthful vibe we are trying to go for.​​”

Besides a collaboration that will surely be a hit amongst the brand’s younger audiences, Pitchy is also very proud of Mali Group’s CSR initiatives. “The Mali brand has always been with the Thai people for over 60 years. We want to continue our support for the local community through initiatives like sponsorships for local sports teams,” he says. After helping to launch Mali Care last year to support the company’s staff and communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Pitchy hopes to keep the initiative ongoing until the pandemic is over. It’s very on-brand and in line with the socially-conscious economics graduate who began his studies as a PPE (politics, philosophy, and economy) major, and is wholly responsible for getting Mali SMETA-certified for ethical standards and becoming more eco-friendly. 

It’s to our surprise, after discussing all of Mali’s exciting new projects, that he revealed his current full-time job elsewhere. Since September 2021, Pitchy has been working as a public policy consultant at Bolliger & Co. where he gives consultations to worldwide organisations like the United Nations, Asian Development Bank, and different branches within the Thai government. “I haven’t broken up with Mali at all!” he sheepishly exclaims. “We’re just basically on a break.” He hopes to venture back to the family business after a few years of working outside and pursuing an MBA in the UK or the US. “ My experience working with family was a positive one. I enjoy working with my parents, and also especially the Mali New-Gen Team. We’re working on something great and I’m really hopeful for my future – our future together.”

Family comes first

With a promise to return to the family business, Pitchy has shown us that to him, family does come first. “Obviously with all things – whether it’s family, relatives, or people you work with, there’s certain to be some bickering or whatnot. We know that sometimes there are differences, but as a family, we definitely understand each other at the end of the day.”

Even when it comes to his goals and aspirations, there are no far-fetched flights of fancy. He finds joy in simple pleasures like enjoying a cup of coffee on the porch with some bossa nova music playing in the background, ideally with his family and, one day, a significant other. 

“My mother taught me that there’s far more happiness than just having material wealth,” he says. To Pitchy, seeing his family happy makes him happy and spending quality time with them is his idea of living a good life. His priority and ultimate goal in life will always be to take care of his mother and older sister, Juthayada Charusreni. “I hope my mother will one day see me as a grown man – it’s on my bucket list!”

Curious about our cover star? Check out his style and grooming tips in the inaugural Lifestyle Asia Bangkok Digital issue.

CREDITS

Photographer: Waroon Kieattisin
Stylist: Jirawat Sriluansoi
Grooming: Rattanachot Pokum
Production: Light Shadow Dark Studio
Location: KHUN by YOO Inspired by Starck
Jewellery: Bulgari

Minnie Ongsricharoenporn
Managing Editor, Bangkok
Minnie is a distance runner and fitness junkie who is always on the lookout for her next runcation destination. Gyms, spas, and hotels are her natural habitats. She hopes to complete all six World Marathon Majors one day.
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