Wood’s nomination for the head of Skål Asia’s top job comes as no surprise to many; the longest serving member of the Asia board, he is the most senior of the board’s three Vice Presidents.
He first joined the Skål Asian Area (SAA) board 16 years ago as Director of Development 2005-2009 and has twice held the VP office, first between 2009-2010 and most recently from 2017 to the present day.
Wood held the position of President of the Thailand National Committee between 2012-14 and is currently President of the Skål Bangkok Club, a post he first held in 2008-10 and again from 2018 to the current day.
In 2010 Wood joined the Executive Board of Skål International as a Director. He is a well respected and decorated Skål member with 29 years of distinguished service resulting in a wealth of knowledge and contacts, both inside Skål and on the global stage of travel and tourism.
A UK national with a professional career based in the hospitality industry in Thailand, a country that has been Wood’s adopted home for the past 30 years, he has served as general manager at some of the country’s finest hotels and resorts, including the famed Royal Cliff Group of Hotels, which was the host venue for the highly successful 2006 Skål World Congress.
In 2019 Wood was awarded Skål’s Membre D’Honneur and is a recipient of the Skål Order of Merit, presented by President Mok Singh in 2013. Additionally, Wood is a recipient of the Skål President’s Award, bestowed by President Peter Morrison in 2020.
In 2019 the Bangkok Club, under Wood’s leadership, won both the coveted Skål Club of the Year for 2018-19 and the Gold Award for growth.
‘Born to lead’
“I have always believed that there are those born to lead and those born to be led,” Wood told Dr Scott Michael Smith, Assumption University’s Course Coordinator from the Department of Hospitality & Tourism Management, in response to questions on leadership.
“My training and experience have given me the skill sets to be an effective leader having risen up the ranks on the Skål Asia board, firstly as a director and most recently as its Vice President,” he added.
Wood also believes that, with the support of its members, he has what it takes to drive the area forward.
“With a proven track record at club level I believe I understand what it will take to provide the support and encouragement for success to each of our 43 clubs in the 17 countries that make up the Asian Area,” he said.
“I would also add that we are here to support all our members. I am saddened when I hear stories of leaders who fail our Asian members and their dreams of going forward and playing bigger roles in our association. We should nurture and promote these aspirations - not squash or deny them,” he explained.
“In addition to my 12 point roadmap, one of my goals will be to continue the SAA board’s good track record over the years of working closely with the Executive Board led by SI President Bill Rheaume,” Wood commented when asked about his plans and future goals.
“Being a former board director gives me a unique understanding of the workings of our Executive Board and I pledge my support and commitment to their leadership and goals.
“There is no doubt in my mind that we need to invest in our clubs and national committees,” he added.
“We need to empower and finance the grassroots of our association.
“COVID has reeked a terrible toil on our industry and some clubs face financial disruptions never beforeseen or experienced. It is now time to inject financial aid and reward good governance and to honour our pledges and to be honest in our deeds and virtues.
“Also much of the future of travel and tourism is linked digitally and we need to help all our clubs in Asia to be making the most of online marketing, communications and business opportunities,” he explained.
Wood also feels that more can be done to support and encourage the six Asian members of Skål’s powerful International Council. A former Councillor himself between 2006-2010, he feels that by working together the Asia International Councillors should elect a spokesperson to ensure that the goals and aspirations of the Asian Area are being met and actively pursued. He also believes experience and contacts are very important tools for any leader.
“I believe I am the best equipped candidate that has grown with Asia during its most formative years (under Presidents Earl Wieman, Gerry Perez and the late Marco Battistotti). This included a time when we helped both Singapore and India to rejoin Asia. No-one better understands what we need to do to prepare for the future, a very different world – post COVID, ” he said.
“With more than 2500 members here in Asia representing one in five of all Skål members worldwide, we need to be strongly represented and have a voice,” Wood stated.
“Asia has often led the way with global growth and savvy commercial acumen. Asia is constantly driven by the need to adopt, adapt and change. So too must Skål Asia. There is no reason we cannot.”
Wood added that it is auspicious that the Skål Asia election falls in August as he first joined Skål on the 20th August 1992. In a new world where borders and travel are restricted he says his energy and enthusiasm, rather than diminishing, shows no bounds.
“I am ready to take my beloved Skål on its continuing journey of Asian friendship and amicale,” he concluded.
In his preparation for the presidential election Wood has prepared a 12 point road map for Skål Asia which can be found here: https://skalbangkok.com/about-skal/skal-asia/.