The Philippines at the crossroads of change. Economic prospects have never looked better. It's one of the fastest growing countries in Asia with new political leadership at the helm. But can its resilient domestic economy survive the ongoing global headwinds? In an exclusive Managing Asia event hosted by award-winning CNBC anchor Christine Tan, we chart the future, the opportunities and the obstacles surrounding a country where domestic consumer demand remains strong, a banking sector that's stable, an outsourcing sector that's booming and a robust economy that's expected to fuel investments.
In our first panel discussion, Managing Asia talks to influential business leaders for their outlook of the Philippines in light of today's macro-economic conditions: what it will take for the country to keep the growth momentum going, seize opportunities in the 12 trillion dollar ASEAN market, tackle tensions with China over the South China Sea dispute and face internal challenges of reducing unemployment and alleviating poverty.
For our second panel, we go in-depth into specific growth engines driving the Philippines as the country industrializes further from an agricultural to an urban economy. Sectors such as telecoms, property, outsourcing, consumer and the financial sectors will come under the spotlight, as we find out how industry leaders are improving their game in their own sectors.
Christine Tan is the Singapore-based anchor for CNBC's longest-running feature program Managing Asia interviewing prominent CEOs and leaders of top companies doing business in Asia.
Tan has more than 17 years of experience in journalism, more than half of which was with CNBC. During her career, she has covered the business and financial market impact from major news events like the Asian Economic Crisis, the Dot Com Bubble Crash, 9-11 attacks in the US and SARS Outbreak.
Jose E.B. Antonio, Filipino, is the founder and Chairman of Century Properties Group and its subsidiaries. He graduated cum laude from San Beda College, Manila in 1966 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Commercial Science (major in Marketing) and received a Master’s Degree in Business Management in 1968 from Ateneo de Manila’s Graduate School of Business. Chairman Antonio also graduated from Harvard University’s Owner / President Management Program in 2003. Chairman Antonio served as the Philippines Special Envoy for Trade and Economics to the People’s Republic of China in 2005 and is currently the Chairman of Century Asia Corporation and Prestige Cars, Inc.. He serves as the Vice Chairman of Penta Pacific Realty Corporation and Subic Air Charter, Inc.. He is also the founder and Chairman of the Philippine-China Business Council, Inc. and is currently the Chairman of the Asia Pacific Real Estate Association - Philippines Chapter.
Ernest Cu has served as Director since April 2009. He is also currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of Globe Telecom, Inc. He joined Globe in October 2008 as Deputy CEO, and was officially appointed President and Chief Executive Officer on 2 April 2009. Since then, Mr. Cu has been passionately driving a sweeping transformation across the company, including modernizing its network and IT infrastructure, creating a strong collaborative and service-oriented culture, and product innovations in its mobile business. Under Mr. Cu's visionary leadership, Globe has outperformed industry growth with the company breaking records across all key product groups, brands and market segments, catapulting Globe as the number 1 mobile brand in the country.
In 2016, Mr. Cu was named Best CEO by Finance Asia for the third time, the last one in 2015 and 2010. Moreover, for the third year in a row, he was recognized as one of the 100 most influential telecom leaders worldwide by London-based Global Telecoms Business Magazine Power 100. In 2014, Mr. Cu was honored as the Telecommunications Executive of the Year by the International Business Awards (Stevies). Mr. Cu also earned international accolade in 2012 as CEO of the Year by Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific.
Prior to Globe, Mr. Cu was President and CEO of SPi Technologies from 1997 to 2008. At the cusp of the new millennium, Mr. Cu spurred the beginning of the BPO business model for the Philippines, earning him the recognition as one of the founding fathers of BPO in the country. Lauding his pioneering spirit and drawing great highlight to his career then was a recognition from Ernst & Young in 2003 as the ICT Entrepreneur of the Year.
Chairman and Founder of the Manny O. Group, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist in 2013, he is the eldest of 11 siblings. Raised to be in business since he was a teenager, he struck out on his own at 14 by starting a bakery business.
A Business Management major from the University of San Carlos Cebu, he was in the furniture manufacturing and export business for many years – founded Woodwares International in 1974 and Philippine Baskets Corporation in 1979.
His involvement in the tourism industry began in the early 90s when he co-founded Waterfront Philippines with a Malaysian businessman. He shortly divested from this due to a conflict with his spiritual convictions vis-a-vis the casino/gaming industry.
He then embarked on a hotel project with the Hilton Group PLC UK to develop the Hilton Cebu Resort & Spa. After six years, Mövenpick Hotel and Resorts Management AG was elected as the property’s new hotel operator in 2011.
Hans B. Sicat was named President and CEO of The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) in January 2011. He also served as Chairman and Independent Director of the PSE from May 2009 to January 2011. He is concurrent President and CEO of the Securities Clearing Corporation of the Philippines (SCCP).
Currently, he is non-executive Vice Chairman and Director of LegisPro Corporation. Sicat also holds positions in various business entities such as Independent Director of Serica Balanced Fund and Master Fund, Independent Director of the Philippine Dealing System Holdings Corporation, and Board of Trustee of Securities Investors Protection Fund, Director of SkyCable member of Euromoney Asia Advisory Board, among others.
Mr. Sicat has more than two decades of experience as investment banker. He was Chief Representative of Citigroup Global Markets Asia Pacific Limited in the Philippines from July 2000 to September 2008; Director and Head for Philippine Investment Banking at Salomon Smith Barney Asia Pacific Limited from April 1996 to June 2000; and Managing Director for Asian Fixed Income (Emerging Markets) at Citicorp International from December 1993 to March 1996. He was also Vice President and Capital Markets Asia Head of Citicorp Securities, Inc. in New York City.
Mr. Sicat finished his coursework for Ph.D. Economics Program at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA and earned his Master of Arts in Economics and Bachelor of Science in Mathematics at the University of the Philippines.
Mr. Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ayala Corporation, the oldest and one of the largest business groups in the Philippines. Ayala has interests in real estate, banking, telecommunications, water, electronics, automotive, power, transport, education, and healthcare.
Apart from his responsibilities on the boards of the Ayala Group companies, Mr. Zobel is a member of various international and local business and socio-civic organizations, including the JP Morgan International Council and Mitsubishi Corporation International Advisory Committee. He is also Chairman of the Harvard Business School Asia-Pacific Advisory Board, a member of the Harvard Global Advisory Council, former Chairman of the Asia Business Council, former Chairman of the Ramon Magsaysay Foundation, former Chairman of the World Wildlife Fund Philippine Advisory Council and a member of board of trustees of Endeavor Philippines. He was also the Philippine Representative to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Advisory Council from 2010-2015.
In 2007, he received the Harvard Business School Alumni Achievement Award, the school’s highest recognition. Mr. Zobel is a 2015 recipient of the Order of Mabini and 2009 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Merit, awarded by the President of the Republic of the Philippines for enhancing the prestige, honor and promoting the interests of the Republic of the Philippines both at home and abroad. Subsequently, Mr. Zobel was bestowed the Philippine Legion of Honor, with rank of Grand Commander, by the President of the Republic of the Philippines in recognition of his outstanding public service to the Republic.
Mr. Zobel studied at Harvard University where he earned his BA in Economics (with honors) in 1981 and his MBA in 1987. He is married to Ms. Elizabeth Eder Zobel de Ayala and has four children. He enjoys adventure motorcycling in his spare time.
How to keep the growth momentum going?
What drives the transition?