MERALCO RETIREES Ricardo Buencamino, senior executive vice president and head of networks at Manila Electric Co., and Gerardo dela Paz, vice president and deputy head for corporate governance also at Meralco, have retired.
Prior to his promotion to SEVP in January 2013, Buencamino was a vice president at Meralco since July 2007. He and Dela Paz, according to a company posting on the website of the Philippine Stock Exchange, “have retired from the company . . . as of the close of business on June 30, 2014.”
At 70, Buencamino has been an overstaying SEVP and head of networks because Meralco needed him and his expertise. Apparently it took Manuel Pangilinan, chairman of the board, 10 years to find a replacement for Buencamino.
On the other hand, Dela Paz opted for early retirement at the age of 55. The company said in a filing back in 2010 that as vice president since January that year, he was a trustee and treasurer of Meralco Management and Leadership Corp. A recent filing identified him as a founding member of Good Governance Advocates and Practitioners of the Philippines.
Appointed to succeed Buencamino and dela Paz were Ronnie Aperocho, a vice president, and lawyer Jocelyn Villar-Altamira, respectively.
EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION Buencamino has been one of the highest paid executives of Meralco, at least since 2009, based on available filings.
His biggest paycheck came in 2013 when Meralco paid its five executives a combined P355 million, divided into P122 million in salaries and P233 million in performance-based pay. The total translates to an average of P71 million each per year, P5.917 million each per month, and P197,222 each per day, computed at 30 days a month.
Aside from Buencamino, Meralco’s four other well-compensated executives are Oscar Reyes, president and chief executive officer; Alfredo Panlilio, senior vice president and head of customer retail service and corporate communications; Betty Siy-Yap, senior vice president and chief finance officer; and Ramon B. Segismundo, senior vice president and head of human resources and corporate services.
In 2012, the group received a combined P136 million in salaries and perks: P106 million in salaries and P34 million in other pay and perks. For 2014, Meralco estimates their combined salaries at P135 million and their other pay and perks at P49 million for a total of P184 million.
In a footnote to the compensation filing, Meralco defined salaries as “guaranteed compensation including government mandated payout”, and pays and perks as “performance-based pay and results-driven incentives.”
Meralco, which had 5,898 workers as of December 31, 2013, paid “all other key officers, other officers and directors as a group (excluding the CEO and the four most highly compensated executive officers)” P198 million in total – P154 million in salaries and P44 million in other pay and perks — in 2012. This year, the power utility said it projects the group’s total compensation at P300 million, divided into P224 million in salaries and P76 million in other pay and perks.
SCOUTING? Is Meralco already scouting for a successor to Oscar Reyes? Reyes has been a member of the board since July 26, 2010 and chief operating officer from July 26, 2010 to May 29, 2012. Until when he would be staying as Meralco president and CEO (he assumed the post on May 29, 2012) is not known yet, even to company insiders.
Since Ricardo Buencamino finally retired as senior executive vice president at the age of 70, will Reyes also do the same? If so, this would mean that since Reyes is only 67, he has three more years to go as Meralco president and CEO.
Of course, Reyes staying in his post until he is 70 depends on the decision of the 11-member all-male board led by Chairman Manuel Pangilinan. Are Pangilinan and his fellow directors now scouting for Reyes’ successor? If they are, then who will be their choice? Will he or she be an insider, a member of the board, or an outsider?
If Pangilinan and his team in the board took 10 years to find a worthy successor to Buencamino, how long would it take them to find somebody who will continue to make Meralco as profitable, if not more profitable, while under Reyes’ leadership? As of June 30, 2014, Meralco reported consolidated retained earnings of P59.565 billion, including net income of P9.676 billion in the first six months of 2014.