This transgender CEO is building a Thai entertainment empire

Transgender people in Thailand often encounter barriers to employment and exclusion from many jobs, especially in the civil service, according to 2015 research commissioned by the International Labor Organization, a United Nations labor agency.
By Anuchit Nguyen | Bloomberg, Bangkok
UPDATED ON OCT 25, 2018 08:45 AM IST

Gender identity isn’t typically a topic of conversation in C suites in Thailand. Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip, though, says a willingness to discuss her transgender transition has helped her entertainment company attract attention, which has led to revenue growth.

Today, the chief executive officer of JKN Global Media Pcl is a celebrity. After several interviews on television programs and in magazines about her gender shift, her fame has “substantially” complemented the company’s business growth as potential customers and content suppliers are much more willing to meet a well-known CEO, she said.

JKN — which went public in November 2017 — has more than tripled its revenue and net income since 2014. The connection Jakkaphong, 38, makes between her public revelation about a gender identity transition and the jump in revenue and net income is that it has afforded the company attention in a crowded market and also liberated her to focus on business development and expansion.

Without the transition, “JKN is unlikely to have such success and reputation in Thailand,” Jakkaphong said in an interview, noting that she is probably the only transgender CEO of a publicly traded company in the country and perhaps the region. “That reputation has greatly facilitated our cooperation talks with prospective clients and suppliers.”


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