Dagon’s young CEO shapes a new way forward for Myanmar.
Thurane (Christopher) Aung, 38, holds a Business Information Management and Finance (Honors) Degree from the University of Westminster, United Kingdom. A native of Yangon, Myanmar, Thurane started his foray into the business world when he joined his family’s business. In retrospect he acknowledges the challenges faced in the early years, being fresh out of university and inexperienced. However, his exposure to corporate finance and management of information provided the foundation that enabled him to successfully take the family business to the next stage of growth.
Citing both his parents as his role models while growing up, Thurane learnt and mastered the art of strategic thinking and negotiation from his father; and embraced the importance of consistency from his mother. He now embodies their Group’s motto of “To do and make possible.” Today, he spends much time self-learning, getting to know his company’s products and process in greater depth in order to identify and incorporate new ideas into his existing businesses.
A core element in Dagon Group’s mission statement is to become a leading diversified Myanmar conglomerate conducting responsible business that will also contribute to the advancement of society. A big part of Thurane’s dream is to contribute his wisdom, knowledge and connections to today’s young entrepreneurs and start-ups, to further empower their dreams and plans. He believes that the next generation is the future, and hopes that by engaging with them and empowering them, he is able to contribute to shaping the future generations in Myanmar.
Among his accolades are the negotiating and implementation of the Special Economic Zone in Myanmar, which gradually expanded to 1,600 acres within five years. He was also instrumental in the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of the holding company of Thilawa SEZ, which was listed on the Yangon Stock Exchange and which was three times over-subscribed.
Taking his cue from Sir Richard Branson, someone whom Thurane admires for his ability to pivot business to be in-line with the development of the industry at that time, Thurane believes that the agility to adapt and change his business model is of utmost importance in today’s fast-moving economic climate.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Thurane is constantly assessing and identifying how different products and services are able to complement one another as he feels that synergy among his businesses is a key success factor. Other factors that he attributes to success are teamwork and empowerment of human resources, in order to be able to grow the business exponentially without micro managing.
On being an entrepreneur, Thurane believes that time is the most valuable thing for anyone. His advice to budding entrepreneurs is to choose a business that they are passionate about doing so they will never feel that they are wasting their time. In living up to his belief of optimizing time, Thurane makes it a practice to resolve work-related issues in the early part of the day, and keeping downtime to a minimum while traveling to offsite engagements by commuting in the early morning, or at the last slot of the day.
While having learnt from past mistakes, Thurane is committed now to raising the bar of how business is done in Myanmar, empowering a new breed of young entrepreneurs and leaving a legacy for the future generations to come.
“Raising the family’s business from the socialist days of Myanmar to what it is today, Thurane now leads a workforce of over 2,000 full-time employees. He believes in making employees feel like part of the family, providing job security, ensuring career development and practicing an open-door policy to all level of staff at all times, a far cry from business a few decades ago.”
Shanggari Balakrishnan, Chief Executive Officer, MORS Group