Francesco Carocci

CEO at Khmer Green Charcoal

“Cambodia: a right choice at the right time”

Originally from Rome, Francesco graduated in management engineering at the University of Tor Vergata and is now the Chief Executive Officer of Khmer Green Charcoal (KGC), an Italian-owned company leading in the production of sustainable charcoal in Cambodia and Southeast Asia.

His adventure in Cambodia began in 2013 when he was selected for a short-term university internship for KGC in Phnom Penh. Returning to Italy to finish his studies, he then spent time in Belgium on the Erasmus programme and worked a while in Italy as an IT consultant. In 2017, having received a job offer from the same KGC company, he moved to Cambodia for a second time, where he now works and lives permanently.

Francesco, you have moved to Cambodia twice… Tell us more about it.

The first time I discovered Cambodia by chance, arriving here as a university intern, catching on the fly a proposal from one of my professors. As a student, I was looking for an experience to lead me into the working world. My first experience abroad alone, those four months in Phnom Penh, opened my mind to the possibilities out there.

In 2017, I returned to KGC to develop and expand the company. I was looking for a challenging,  motivating job, and the proposal came at the right time. I immediately accepted their offer, at the same time changing my life.  

What is your role today?

I started as KGC Project Manager, coordinating all projects linked to social and environmental objectives. Then, in January 2022, I was promoted  CEO: I am sincerely grateful to Carlo Figa’ Talamanca and KGS’s team for believing in me.

Do have an achievement you are particularly proud of so far? And why?

The strategic role I’ve played so far. I liked to be innovative and look for new markets and customers. For example, currently, we are looking to expand beyond the capital, offering sustainable charcoal to women living in the province.

What do you particularly love about living in Cambodia?

I’m lucky: I do a job I like, and I live in a city that allows me to express myself at my best. I also have flexible working hours that will enable me to manage my time autonomously. In Cambodia, you can live a comfortable life and have a few more pleasures than in Italy.

How do you spend your free time?

Since being here, I’ve started playing tennis. So often, at the end of my working day, I’ll play or have a drink, the classic Italian Happy Hour.

Do you have a special place in Cambodia that has captured your heart?

A tiny restaurant opened by an Italian on the terrace of his house, in the middle of the Cambodian countryside in Kampot, named “Ciao.” He cooks handmade pappardelle, gnocchi, and ravioli. It’s a small place off the tourist trail, but it’s like coming home every time I go there.

As an Italian ex-pat, what ties do you have with the Italian community in Cambodia?

In Phnom Penh, there is a small community of Italians, and we all know each other more or less. However, in reality, I hang out with people of various nationalities.

Do you have an Italian tradition you’ve brought here?

My typical day always starts with a good moka of homemade coffee before going to the factory.

Lastly, do you have any advice for those wanting to move to Cambodia?

You never know which opportunities life will offer you. The important thing is to be aware of the choices you make and to be able to seize the right opportunity when it comes along, as it happened to me.

? To make a connection with Francesco Carocci, visit his profile on our Business Directory here.

✍️  Francesca Danni

? Francesco Carocci KGC

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