Lopez steps down as Meralco chairmnan
Ambassador Manuel Lopez has officially stepped down as chairman of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), signaling an end to the Lopez family’s decades-long rule over the country’s biggest power distributor.
In an emotionally charged speech during Tuesday’s stockholders’ meeting, Lopez said he was confident that the business of Meralco and its subsidiaries would grow under the stewardship of businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan, who took over the utility as chairman.
Also, Meralco’s board of directors on Tuesday elected Oscar S. Reyes as the new president and CEO of the power distributor.
“I leave this company with full confidence in [Pangilinan],” Lopez said.
“As I step down as your chairman, it is with a great sense of fulfillment and pride that I have seen the significant expansion of Meralco’s franchise reach [and] the tremendous growth of our customer base and electricity sales volume … since Meralco’s transfer to Filipino ownership and management in 1962.”
Lopez became Meralco’s chief executive in 1986 and has served as chairman for over 10 years. Lopez will remain as a member of the board.
For his part, Pangilinan said that Meralco would continue to strengthen its core distribution business, franchise expansion, power generation business and retail electricity supply segment. The company will likewise pursue innovations such as smart grid and e-vehicles.
This year alone, Meralco earmarked P11.3 billion for its capital expenditure projects to further improve the company’s distribution business.
Also, Pangilinan said the company would respect the decision of the Lopez family to keep its remaining 3.9-percent stake in Meralco.
“I can appreciate that. [The Lopezes] are probably the longest shareholder of this company and I would understand why they would want to keep their share for the long term,” Pangilinan said.
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