MVP set to relinquish CEO post to manager ‘ready to die’ for PLDT
PLDT Inc. chair Manuel V. Pangilinan hopes to relinquish the post of CEO by the second half of 2017, around the time he expects the telco giant to show fresh growth in line with its digital pivot.
Pangilinan, in an interview Friday in his Makati City office, shed some light on the company’s future plans, including its shift to internet-related services, reducing capital spending in 2017 and hiring a new top manager “ready to die for the job.”
“Work over family, period. If I could that see that in a person, you’re it,” Pangilinan said, when asked about non-negotiable traits for a new CEO. “There’s always a price to pay. You can’t be the CEO of this company on an eight-hour shift.”
Pangilinan reassumed the role as PLDT CEO less than a year ago, after long-time head Napoleon Nazareno retired in 2015.
Since then, Pangilinan has taken a more active role in an industry that has dramatically changed since the last time he held that position in 2003.
In a departure from an earlier stance, Pangilinan said he would also consider hiring a CEO from outside PLDT’s ranks. A search committee would be organized next year, he said.
“There will be several names internally that would be brought up, there will be names externally. We just need to find the right person to lead this company forward,” Pangilinan said.
“I hope we could find a CEO by the second half, and I could let go either by end-2017, or no later than early 2018,” he added.
The interview came days after PLDT adjusted core earnings lower to P28 billion this year from P35.2 billion last year. But Pangilinan said the company’s “actual” core income for the full year should be lower at P20 billion, stripping out exceptional items like the sale of part of its power assets.
Given cost pressures, Pangilinan noted PLDT would start to outsource several IT functions next year. Capital spending, at a record P48 billion this year, would also likely come down to the “low 40s” starting 2017.
Capital spending, he said, needed to be sustainable and adjusted to the company’s Ebitda (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization), all the while maximizing potential future revenues.
Throughout the interview, Pangilinan made several candid admissions, from how the company neglected its branding, to how main rival Globe Telecom moved ahead in the digital shift.
“They have done a good job in defining their brand and relating to a whole world of data. We were slow in adapting to that change,” Pangilinan said.
He also expected revenues would still be weighed down by subscribers shifting from its legacy service to data.
Nevertheless, Pangilinan painted a brighter picture for 2017 as PLDT would be putting more focus on its fixed-line internet services, which was expected to deliver most of the new revenue growth.
This week, the company announced a top-level management revamp involving 10 positions, led by Eric Alberto, who was named chief revenue officer, a newly created post.
“It would take us a few more years to complete this transformation. Now, we are going through that pain,” Pangilinan said.