Al Panlilio to succeed Pangilinan in PLDT as income rebounds

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 06 2021 03:40 PM | Updated as of May 06 2021 05:54 PM

MANILA - (UPDATE 2) Al Panlilio will be the next PLDT Inc president and CEO, the telco's current top official Manuel Pangilinan said Thursday, as the tycoon eyes retirement from the company this year. 

In a virtual annual stockholders' briefing, Pangilinan said he would remain chairman of PLDT, and that Panlilio’s appointment will still need shareholder approval.

"I will retire as president and CEO of PLDT and pass the baton over to Al [Panlilio] so I will stay as chairman, of course, subject to shareholders’ consent to do that," Pangilinan said.

The transition will officially be announced during PLDT’s annual stockholders meeting next month, Pangilinan added.

Panlilio is currently PLDT’s chief revenue officer, and the president and CEO of Smart Communications Inc, PLDT's wireless arm. 

Pangilinan has been leading PLDT since the late nineties when Hong Kong-based company, First Pacific, made an initial investment in the telco giant.

He became company chairman in 2004, taking over from businessman Antonio Cojuangco, and passed on the CEO post to Napoleon Nazareno, the president of Smart Communications then.

But after Nazareno retired in 2015, Pangilinan went on to become president and CEO of the company again, as the company struggled to boost profitability then.

Pangilinan’s announcement comes as PLDT’s telco core net income rose 9 percent to P7.5 billion in the first quarter of the year. 

The telco said its consolidated service revenues grew 8 percent, or P3.3 billion, to P44.8 billion in the first quarter of 2021. This, as its
data/broadband business grew 15 percent to P33.9 billion.

“In the face of unprecedented changes brought about by the pandemic, being a telco means we are well-positioned to address the needs of our customers, while at the same time enabling their passions and purpose,” Panlilio said in a statement. 

Pangilinan meanwhile gave a few words of advice for the next leader of the telco giant.

"It's a hungry animal. It's hungry for capex, which means you have to generate a lot of cash to feed the requirements of the business, particularly on network build."

PLDT said its capital expenditures totaled P20.7 billion in the first quarter alone, with network upgrades making up the bulk of the capex spending.

"We're not done yet with 5G and here is Huawei already making noise about 6G. So when it comes around, probably around 2030, or in the opening of the next decade, we would see a network buildout on 6G."

He also touched on the next potential major revenue driver for PLDT and the whole telco industry which include hyperscaling, which he said could be the next business process outsourcing (BPO) sector of the Philippines, which can provide billions of dollars in revenues.

"It's looking great for a company like PLDT if we play it right," Pangilinan said.

- Report from Bruce Rodriguez, ABS-CBN News

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- With a report from Bruce Rodriguez, ABS-CBN News