National Bank Governor’s Daughter Named New Director-General

Chea Serey, the daughter of National Bank Governor Chea Chanto, has been promoted to director-general of the central bank, she confirmed this week.

Ms. Serey will replace Nguon Sokha, who said that she left the National Bank about a month ago after being appointed as a secretary of state in the Ministry of Finance.

Prior to her promotion, Ms. Serey was deputy director-general at the National Bank in charge of banking supervision.

After confirming her promotion on Tuesday, Ms. Serey declined to comment any further on her new role at the central bank, which has long been governed by her father.

According to her profile information on the professional networking website LinkedIn, Ms. Serey graduated in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand and has worked at the National Bank since 1999.

Commenting on her replacement for central bank director-general, Ms. Sokha said that the father-daughter relationship between Ms. Serey and Mr. Chanto was unimportant as Ms. Serey is a highly skilled technocrat fit to run the central bank.

As more senior members of the CPP have begun reducing their roles in government—Mr. Chanto is a longtime member of the CPP’s central committee—their children have often been promoted to fill senior roles in the ruling party’s administration.

Prime Minister Hun Sen’s son Hun Many became one of the CPP’s 68 National Assembly members after July’s election.

Say Sam Al, the son of CPP secretary-general Say Chhum, was named the new Environment Minister in September.

Earlier this year, Sok Khavan, the nephew of Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, was named director-general of the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority.

Tioulong Saumura, a longtime opposition lawmaker who served as a deputy governor of the National Bank in the 1990s, said that the fact that Ms. Serey was the daughter of the central bank’s governor should have excluded her from the job.

“Notwithstanding her personal skills that I do not know, the fact that she is the daughter of the governor should definitely exclude her,” Ms. Saumura said in an email, referring to the possible perception of nepotism in the appointment as well as issues related to conflicts of interest.

“She could be the director of many other governmental units if her skills justify it. This case underlines the need for adoption of strict rules that should forbid persons with close family links to serve in the same governmental unit,” she added.

Some CNRP leaders have also begun elevating their progeny within the resurgent opposition party.

Kem Monovithya, the daughter of CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha, is a member of the CNRP’s 26-member permanent committee, the party’s top decision-making body.

“The CNRP has to recognize that if we will point the finger at the CPP, we need to keep our own house clean,” CNRP chief whip Son Chhay said.

“As for Kem Sokha’s daughter, some people have criticized [her position] and we need to look at that issue,” Mr. Chhay added.

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