PLDT shake-up: Panlilio retires, MVP takes over
MANILA -PLDT Inc. is undergoing another major change in senior leadership—since it reorganized following the multi-billion budget overrun mess—with the retirement of president and CEO Alfredo Panlilio due to health reasons.
This is seen to pose concerns over the telco giant’s leadership succession as the board looks for the new top honcho who will lead the company at a time of heightened digitalization and competition in the industry.
In a disclosure on Tuesday, PLDT announced that Panlilio was leaving his post after nearly three years.
PLDT chair Manuel V. Pangilinan, who passed the baton to Panlilio in 2021, is taking over the position again effective Jan. 1, 2024, until a new president and CEO is appointed.
Panlilio, however, will retain his other roles at the MVP Group. He remains director of PLDT, Smart Communications Inc. and MediaQuest Holdings Inc.; chair of Maya Bank; and director of Multisys Technologies Corp., among others.
“I would like to thank Al profusely for his service and his loyalty and wish him the very best. I also enjoin everyone to support a smooth transition within the PLDT Group at this critical juncture of its corporate life,” Pangilinan said.
Under Panlilio’s term, Smart was able to regain mobile market leadership from rival Globe Telecom Inc. in terms of customer base after seven years. He also spearheaded major infrastructure projects, including data centers and subsea cable systems, as PLDT readies for the continuous digital boom.
“Mr. Panlilio has been instrumental in steering the PLDT Group during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic and enabling PLDT to sustain profitability and industry leadership in that difficult period,” the listed company said.
China Bank Capital Corp. managing director Juan Paolo Colet, in a message to Inquirer, said that Panlilio’s retirement was “unfortunate as this comes at a critical time and again raises a question on PLDT’s succession plan.”
“While there is no doubt that Mr. Pangilinan is a highly capable steward, the company needs to reassure investors that there will be an expeditious process to appoint a new CEO who can drive innovation and growth in a quickly evolving competitive landscape,” he added.
Regina Capital Development Corp. head of sales Luis Limlingan told the Inquirer that Pangilinan taking over the role himself was a welcome development for investors.
“MVP has a long history already with PLDT so that already makes him well-equipped to hold the position as its CEO. I believe that investors would take this news positively,” he explained.
PLDT shares climbed by 0.47 percent to P1,276 each on Tuesday.
Panlilio’s retirement came a few months after PLDT welcomed a new chief financial officer on May 4 amid the budget overrun issue due to overspending in 5G technology. At the time, several key officials left the company via early retirement and voluntary resignation.
The overspending issue first erupted in December last year. PLDT conducted an investigation on the matter, disclosing in the first quarter that no fraudulent activity was involved. It has since implemented more measures to monitor capital expenditure spending. INQ