Dhanin Chearavanont, chairman of Thailand’s CP Foods’ parent company Charoen Pokphand Group, said the chief executive role could go to someone outside the controlling family in the future.

Chearavanont, reputed to be Thailand’s richest man, told the Nikkei Asian Review that he is willing to open up the CEO position to outside expertise “if I cannot find the right person in my family”.

He told the publication that while his two sons took over as chairman and chief executive when he stepped back in 2017, their leadership would be far shorter than his own over around five decades.

But he added: “The group leadership succession to my sons is mostly complete. I try to refrain from intervening in what they decide on a day-to-day basis.”

CP Group is one of the world’s biggest food and agriculture conglomerates. It generated US$63bn in revenue last year.

Chearvanont took over his father’s business in the late 1960s and, the Nikkei Asian Review points out, led the group into the Chinese market after China opened itself up to foreign direct investment in 1978.