Cecile Jaclyn Thai, daughter of Supermax Corp.’s founders Stanley Thai and Cheryl Tan, resigned on April 17 following disagreements with its board of directors.
The Kuala Lumpur-based glove maker said in a filing to the Malaysian stock exchange that Cecile had “expressed dissenting voice on several matters discussed at the board meetings.” Her decision to resign was approved with a majority vote.
Supermax’s executive chairman Stanley Thai clarified in a message to Forbes Asia that she had, until, recently been the chief executive of Aveo Vision—a wholly owned subsidiary of Supermax—that’s involved in the sales and marketing for contact lenses. But “she has never participated in the gloves business.”
The filing did not elaborate on the nature of the disagreement, but added that “her comments had been taken into account at the various meetings. The company’s board committees and board meetings do not stifle the voice of any director, and for matters discussed, the majority vote carries the decision.”
Thai, 35, has an undergraduate degree in economics from Northwestern University and an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. She joined the company’s board as an executive director in January 2018 and was re-designated as a non-independent; non-executive director in 2022.
Supermax, which was started in 1987 as a trader of latex gloves and moved into manufacturing in 1989, is a leading maker of nitrile latex and natural rubber gloves that are sold in 165 countries through 1,200 distributors. It benefitted immensely during the pandemic when demand for gloves rose globally.
In fact, Stanley Thai re-entered the list of Malaysia’s 50 Richest in 2021—after a six-year break—thanks to a huge jump in the company’s stock that year. But with the pandemic receding, Supermax, which saw a 14% dip in the share price in the past year, reported losses for the first time in its history for the half year ended December 31, 2022, even as demand for gloves fells globally.
The glove industry, which posted record high revenues and profits through 2021 and 2022, saw the entry of new players as well as the ramping up of capacity by existing players, thereby leading to a glut. It’s now facing the triple whammy of reduced average selling prices, heightened competition and lower profitability. Supermax reported a loss of 102.4 million ringgit for the six-month period ended December 31, 2022, down from a profit of 686 million ringgit for the same period ended a year before. Revenue also fell to 422 million ringgit in 2022 from 1.98 billion ringgit a year earlier.
Meanwhile, Supermax has invested $350 million in a new glove manufacturing plant in Brazoria County in Texas, and chairman Thai splits his time between homes in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida and Houston, Texas returning occasionally to Kuala Lumpur for meetings.