PLDT’s Nazareno to retire by yearend

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Telco bares major management changes

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) on Tuesday announced major management changes, beginning with the retirement at the end of this month by President and Chief Executive Napoleon Nazareno, as the country’s dominant telco seeks to adapt to a changing business environment.

Chairman Manuel Pangilinan will assume the president and CEO roles until a replacement is found while Nazareno, who was due for mandatory retirement in 2014 but kept on for another year, will become a strategic advisor for the PLDT group.

“We disclose the retirement of Mr. Napoleon “Polly” Nazareno as President and CEO of PLDT and Smart Communications, Inc. effective 31st December 2015,” PLDT said in a disclosure to the stock exchange.


Pangilinan told a briefing yesterday that PLDT did not have a schedule with regard to naming a replacement.

“We don’t have any specific time frame in appointing [a new president and CEO],” Pangilinan said, adding that he would be taking time to fully familiarize himself with a new business model that was focused on data services.

“I think we are not in a hurry. I myself will be a member of the [search]committee. I like to understand where the business is headed to give me a better view,” he said.

Pangilinan said the foremost pre-requisite would be an expertise in digital technologies.
Asked if the new appointee would come from within the company, Pangilinan replied: “The preference is look for someone from inside.”

New business heads
Along with Nazareno’s retirement, PLDT also announced new senior management appointments, to take effect starting January next year. Katrina Luna-Abelarde was named the new head of Wireless Consumer Operations, Oscar Reyes Jr. will assume the position of PLDT Home Operations Head and Albert Mitchell Locsin is the new head of SME Business.

Meanwhile, chief strategy advisor Winston Damarillo—appointed in April—will assume additional responsibilities in the digital platform business of PLDT Capital.

Menandeo Jimenez was made responsible for all HR units of the PLDT Group.

Nazareno, meanwhile, will also remain as non-Executive Director of First Pacific Company Limited (FPC) and a member of the Board of Directors of Rocket Internet.

Pangilinan said PLDT was grateful for Nazareno’s many years of service, noting that under his leadership, PLDT and Smart achieved unprecedented success in becoming the country’s leading telecommunications companies.

Nazareno was said to have led the transformation of the landline business from an overwhelmingly voice-driven service to a broadband data-powered business.

MPIC also bares changes

Changes relating to PLDT were not limited to the telco, with Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp. also announcing management changes.

In a disclosure MPIC said Maynila Water Services, Inc. President Victorino Vargas would be appointed to FPC with the mandate of handling the FPC Group’s business transformation-related activities.

“As such, he will head this BTO and, in the first instance and as priority, oversee the transformation-related activities of the PLDT Group, including the organization and human capital requirements of a digital company,” MPIC said.

The position of Maynilad president and CEO will be filled in by Ramoncito Fernandez, the former president and CEO of the group’s tollways arm, Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC). He will also become a Maynilad director.

Rodrigo Franco was named MPTC’s president, CEO and director, and will concurrently hold his functions as president and CEO of MPTC’s Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC).

Lastly, Roberto V. Bontia will then assume the position of president and CEO of Tollways Management Corp. (TMC), also under MPTC.

With Pangilinan taking care of PLDT’s day to day operations, Vargas will be working with him as the main organizer of the telecom giant’s overseas ventures.

The switch in executive positions comes amid reports of PLDT trying to play catch-up with a changing environment and the threat of a possible new industry player aside from perennial rival Globe Telecoms Inc.

Under the FPC umbrella, Pangilinan holds infrastructure conglomerate MPIC and telecommunications firm PLDT.

MPIC holds Pangilinan’s investments in water utilities (Maynilad), toll roads (MPTC and MNTC), electricity distribution (Manila Electric Company or Meralco) and healthcare services (MPIC Hospital Group).

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