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Biz buzz: Wanted: CEO

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Biz buzz: Wanted: CEO

/ 12:31 AM January 23, 2017

After five years in service, Maybank Philippines’ first Filipino president, Herminio Famatigan Jr., has left the bank, creating a lot of speculation on who will fill the void.

The talk of the town is that this high-ranking executive from this foreign bank is being wooed to lead Maybank, which has ambitions to be a stronger player all across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) region. Which foreign bank? It’s one of the few with a complete franchise from retail to corporate and investment banking.

So we asked Mr. Banker if he was indeed making this move, and this was what he said: “Oh my! People are dreaming to be where I am. These people keep on speculating!” —DORIS DUMLAO-ABADILLA

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‘Detente’ at 2GO?

Word on the street is that the boardroom dispute that wracked publicly listed 2GO is about to come to an end.

Of course, we’re talking about the dispute between 2GO’s president and CEO Sulficio Tagud Jr. and Phoenix Petroleum CEO Dennis Uy, with the former opposing the entry of the latter in the logistics firm’s board, despite Uy having bought a 21-percent voting interest and a 28-percent beneficial interest in the firm from its foreign shareholders.

Biz Buzz recently spoke to a board member of 2GO who said that mediation efforts between both parties seems to be paying off.

In particular, the company director said that Tagud—an old hand in the shipping and logistics business—was now willing to let Uy sit on the firm’s board, or at least appoint a number of representatives equivalent to his shareholdings in the company.

“Mr. Tagud is a veteran in the industry and he knows his way around,” the director said, explaining what looks like a growing recognition by both sides that they are better off putting the dispute to rest. “He can be a difficult opponent sometimes.”

At the same time, the board member said the company CEO seemed to recognize that Uy’s star was on the rise, given the Davao-based businessman’s strong personal ties with President Duterte.

“Mr. Uy is influential and Mr. Tagud knows that,” he said.

Will both gentlemen become fast friends? Maybe not, but they may end up coexisting, for now. Until the next corporate maneuver unfolds, that is. —DAXIM L. LUCAS

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SSS lottery

Remember the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)’s “Premyo sa Resibo” program (BIR-Philweb Corp. project circa 2006 to 2014) that allowed people to join a raffle system to encourage them to ask for official receipts from establishments? The Social Security System (SSS) is considering to put in place something similar.

In a forum with the Shareholders Association of the Philippines (SharePHIL) last week, SSS president Emmanuel Dooc said the pension fund (which is now of course challenged to extend the actuarial life of its fund to cover an increase in benefits) was seeking to diversify revenue stream such as by investing in infrastructure, property and even lotto operation.

Dooc later on elaborated to reporters that a study had already been undertaken on the proposed lottery project. “This will be open to our members, to encourage them to attract new members and encourage them to pay for their contribution,” he said.

It’s effectively a marketing promotion wherein a member who pays for his or her contribution will automatically get a lottery number while SSS will allot a certain percentage of its marketing budget for the prize money. “Instead of paying account offers to collect or generate membership, this will be an incentive,” he said, adding that without extra cost to members, they will be given a chance to win the lottery. “Hopefully, we’ll be exempt from getting any license from Pagcor (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.),” he said. —DORIS DUMLAO-ABADILLA

Palawan playground

Palawan’s lure as a tourist destination continues to grow more prominent, and it’s no wonder more developers are looking its way.

The latest, of course, is Premiere Horizon Alliance Corp. We understand the company wants to transform a 512-hectare property about 40 minutes from Puerto Princesa City into a massive, multithemed beach resort complex.

The project is internally being called a “UN playground,” presumably for the foreign market it also plans to draw.

While that name makes us think of those working in high-level diplomacy, industry insiders familiar with the project assure us it’s definitely a leisure project. It will be carried out by the company’s subsidiary, West Palawan Premiere Development Corp. In turn, West Palawan Premiere will develop the project into eight “unique development pods” consisting of concept beach fronts, coves, highlands, peninsula and midlands.

A few more developments are happening that signal the proponent is serious about this project. Appointed as president of West Palawan Premiere was Danny Antonio, one of the founders of Landco Pacific Corp. United States-based Aecom was tapped to handle the project master plan, while David Leechiu, who heads Leechiu Property Consultants, did the market scanning.

The next important date is coming up soon. We heard the company is targeting to apply for a Peza Tourism Estate accreditation early this year. —MIGUEL R. CAMUS

Rigodon on hold?

Former National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon is already back in town after her two-year stint in Washington-based World Bank. Will she also be back in her former post?

Asked by Biz Buzz, De Leon’s answer was a short, “We’ll see.”

De Leon had served as senior adviser to the World Bank executive director for the group that, besides the Philippines, includes Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

She was posted to the World Bank in 2015 when current National Treasurer Roberto Tan, who held the executive director post for the World Bank grouping in 2012-2014, returned to the country.

While it had been rumored that Tan would be moving to head state-run Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. next month, he told Biz Buzz that it was “just hearsay.”

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, who oversees both the Bureau of the Treasury and PDIC, did not comment when asked about the reported movements.

With de Leon’s return, the Department of Finance sent to the World Bank as the country’s representative Rommel Herrera from its international finance group. —BEN O. DE VERA

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TAGS: 2GO, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Dennis Uy, economy, Herminio Famatigan Jr., Maybank Philippines, Philippine business news updates, Phoenix Petroleum, Premyo sa Resibo, SSS, Sulficio Tagud Jr.
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