In 2016, when Thailand’s Central Group hired Nicolò Galante, a two-decade McKinsey veteran, it was an admission that its digital dreams were floundering. In the preceding three years—ever since Tos Chirathivat, the forward-looking grandson of the group’s founder, took over as CEO—digital transformation had been a priority. Central, the family-led retail giant that’s one Southeast Asia’s largest conglomerates, was acutely aware of the rise of e-commerce, and its own risk of obsolescence.

Galante arrived as Central Group COO and head of online. A year later, Galante was elevated to Central Retail CEO, and hired Axel Winter, a German executive previously with Standard Chartered Bank and Accenture, as CTO.


Jon Russell

Jon Russell is Southeast Asia editor for The Ken based in Bangkok. Originally from the UK, Jon moved to Thailand in 2008. He’s passionate about telling thoughtful business stories, and tracking the impact of the internet in his adopted home of Southeast Asia.

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