Alvarez makes history at Mitsubishi

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ALVAREZ and his wife Cherie attending the 50th anniversary bash of Mitsubishi last February.

Orlando Alvarez Jr. is set to make history at the Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. when he becomes the first Filipino to be appointed as the Executive Vice President of the country’s second biggest automotive company.

Pending an official company announcement, the Inquirer learned that Alvarez’s ascent to the No. 2 position of MMPC which is in the midst of its golden year anniversary celebration, was annnounced to dealers by MMPC president Hikosaburo Shibata  when they were brought to Bangkok, Thailand, together with media guests for the preview of the Mirage G4 sedan last week.

Alvarez, who had a stint with the Bank of the Philippine Islands early in his career, starts his tenure as the first ever Filipino EVP of MMPC on Monday, July 1.

Popularly known as  Buboy in the local automotive circle, Alvarez takes over the position vacated by Taizo Furuhashi who held it for more than six years.

In the company’s long history, never had a local executive gone past the SVP level with the top two posts, the presidency included, usually reserved for Japanese expatriates who are designates of the joint owners of the Mitsubishi company here, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Sojitz.

For Alvarez to break up the monotony is considered a huge development for the auto industry which is helping drive the local economy in a great way.

Two of the biggest dealers of Mitsubishi welcomed Alvarez’s impending appointment with a high degree of optimism.

“It’s true, he’s got it and we’re all excited,” said Paul Ching of the Citimotors Group which counts the major dealership in Makati, Cavite and Las Piñas.

Ching added that Alvarez’s background in finance and a very healthy relationship with the dealer network has contributed a lot to the continued rise in profitability of MMPC.

“He’s always in touch with everybody (dealers) and that’s very important to us,” he said.

His new position, according to Ching, effectively makes him one of the most powerful Filipino men among the Japanese auto companies  in the mold of Singapore-based Vince Socco, who is now Toyota Motor Asia Pacific senior vice president handling Lexus.

George Blaylock, the man behind the Diamond Group, which maintains seven branches, believes that the appointment of Alvarez is “a reward for his performance.”

Alvarez, Blaylock says, has achieved quite a lot especially during his promotion as senior vice president for marketing and treasury.

MMPC posted its highest monthly sales of 4,063 units last  May, a figure that is 11.1 percent higher than that of April (3,658 units) and at the same time 35.2 percent better than the 3,005 units the company sold in May 2012.

The combined reports of the Truck Manufacturers Association Inc. and Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines (Campi) showed that MMPC captured 24.3 percent of the market sales in May.

“He gave the dealer development a big push which resulted to us offering more and better services to our customers,” he said.

What could be an even better implication of Alvarez’s rise to the top at MMPC is the confidence of Japanese principals to local executives to handle the business.

“It’s can’t get any better than this because the Japanese top honchos see corporate guys like Buboy (Alvarez) can already handle such a delicate position,” Blaylock added.

“They feel that business will take off with a local guy like him.”

He took note of Alvarez’s penchant for people empowerment as one of his asset which makes him a very good leader.

“He’s someone who is cool with the people around him believing in their respective capabilities. He handles situations both tough and easy very well and his being a team player is probably the reason why he delivers the expected results,” Blaylock said.

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