Asia CEO Awards: Businesses need to beef up innovation strategy to sustain market leadership

MANILA, PHILIPPINES—In today’s world where technology-led disruptions have become the new normal, the need for companies to innovate in all aspects of the business has never been more pronounced.

“If you’re not innovating, then you’re not growing in a lot of regards,” states Scott Stavretis, CEO of global Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) leader Acquire, whose subsidiary Shore Solutions, Inc. is a key sponsor of this year’s Asia CEO Awards. “From my perspective, today it’s really all about growth—and in business, if you’re not growing and you’re just staying still, then it means you’re going backwards,” he avers.

In today’s highly competitive business arena where companies aggressively pursue different avenues to achieve better efficiencies to bolster revenues, Stavretis emphasizes that growth begins with innovation. “Markets are changing a lot quicker than they ever have before, and it’s going to continue that way. You have to be nimble and constantly think of what you can do to be one step ahead of your competitors in finding new ways to break through the market,” he says.

It’s this very philosophy that pervades throughout Acquire’s 7,000-strong global ecosystem, which now counts last year’s acquisitions Shore Solutions, Inc. and Animation1 in its portfolio. According to Stavretis, the company’s acquisition of Shore Solutions is consistent with Acquire’s inorganic growth model and innovation strategy. “We’ve been seeing the Shore brand for a while and we’ve kind of head-to-head competed in the marketplace on a few deals. We find that Shore has quite a unique approach to business—they don’t just offer the typical contact center products, and this acquisition has led to more innovation for our company in the way of products, design, and how we engage with our clients’ needs,” Stavretis says.


ASIA HEALTH SUMMIT 2015: Next Generation Preventive Health

Without immediate and drastic change, Filipinos face an epidemic of misery and early death from so-called Lifestyle Diseases. International studies conclusively state that 60% of deaths are now caused by ailments such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes – a colossal increase from just a generation ago.

Rates of such diseases in emerging countries across the world are on track to dramatically over-shoot those of the most unhealthy countries of the west. Philippines is thought by many to be leading the way in Asia because of a fast growing middle-class and strong western cultural influences.

The World Health Organization believes Philippines faces a “double burden” because it is still fighting malnutrition and high rates of infectious diseases. The “new pandemic” of Lifestyle Diseases will overwhelm health services of the nation unless rates of increase can be stopped – but, if anything, they continue to increase.

Asia CEO Awards: Leadership development crucial to sustain PH economic growth

MANILA, PHILIPPINES—“There is an urgent need for companies in the Philippines to plan for succession,” asserts distinguished economist Dr. Bernie Villegas.

Dr. Bernie Villegas - Economist
A member of the esteemed Board of Judges of the Asia CEO Awards, Dr. Villegas has remained consistent in his bold economic forecasts for the Philippines, even stating in numerous occasions that “regardless of who will occupy the highest seat in the land come 2016, the country’s growth trajectory will continue on for the next 10 years.”

The Philippines’ engines of growth, Villegas says, has nothing to do with politics. “We have the more than 10 million Filipinos sending $28 billion a year, which increases at three to five percent annually, as well as the high earnings of the BPO sector that’s now at $18 billion and growing annually at 18 percent—that’s the amount of purchasing power you have in the hands of Filipinos today, and these are all independent of politics,” he states.

It is precisely because the Philippines is now one of the fastest growing economies in Asia that the country is facing the urgent need to develop more leaders within business organizations—across all levels. “If we’re growing, we have to make sure we have the right leaders in our corporations,” Dr. Villegas says.

As the pace of business quickens, there is a common tendency for organizations to focus on immediate business concerns and pay less attention to such systemic issues as leadership development that ultimately drive long-term success. According to Dr. Villegas, this is exactly what is happening in most businesses in the Philippines. “A lot of companies do not really plan for succession. I’m concerned that some corporations keep on recycling executives who are already in their 70s—it’s evident that management development isn’t being given a lot of priority,” he says.


Revolutionizing HR in the Philippines

MANILA, PHILIPPINES—For a country that’s home to a pool of highly competent, English-proficient workforce, much still needs to be done to elevate the state of Human Capital Management (HCM) in the country.

A distinguished thought leader in HCM, Darcy Mark Lalonde tells the HR professionals who gathered at the recent Asia HR Summit organized by the Asia CEO Forum that “HR specifically in the Philippines still has a long way to go. There’s still a lot of things we can do.”

Lalonde, however, is quite keen on pointing out that internationally, “HR is the most revolutionary side of the C-Suite. The good news is that we’re seeing, internationally, this new term, CHRO (Chief HR Officer). It used to be that in corporate boardrooms, you don’t invite the HR guy until you’re ready to downsize and cut a bunch of people, but now, with the right tools and the right culture and mindset, enterprises are realizing more that they can actually have HR drive the business. It may be a different process with start-ups versus large enterprises, but at the end of the day, we all say that people are the most important company asset.”

Asia CEO Forum: Breakfast Forum with Chris Fossick, Managing Director, Jones Lang Lasalle

Chris Fossick, Managing Director- Southeast Asia, of JLL, Asia’s largest real estate advisory firm, tells the future of the sector at Asia CEO Forum. Considered the most senior commercial real estate leader in Southeast Asia, Chris Fossick will demonstrate the irrefutable trends impacting the key sector that is critical to economic growth in Philippines and the ASEAN region.

The issues and concerns facing real estate seem overwhelming and contradictory:
 + Does anybody really think BPO can continue to drive growth in office, retail and condo construction?
 + Is tourism development finally becoming an engine of growth or will it always be just another lost opportunity?
 + At what point will infrastructure deficiencies crush Metro Manila and halt economic growth for the entire nation?
 + Is it true that Philippines is actually considered a real estate powerhouse in Asia?
 + Will the ASEAN free market be more bad than good for Philippines?
 + Isn’t Metro Manila already saturated with shopping malls and condo towers?
 + Do the negatives of the casino industry outweigh the positives of tourism development?

Chris oversees operations in Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. Chris also sits on the Asia Pacific Executive Committee. Jones Lang LaSalle Asia Pacific employs 20,800 employees in 77 offices in 13 countries across the region.

To register to this event please click here 


Asia CEO Awards: Calling leadership teams to action

MANILA, PHILIPPINES—To say that the year 2015 bears greater economic implications for the Philippines would be understating it. With the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on the cusp of integration, the region presents opportunities to become a more dynamic and stronger segment of the global supply chain as it gives investors access not only to ASEAN markets but also to some of the world’s largest economies.

In the Philippine setting, both small and mid-sized businesses and corporations alike are realizing the urgent need to elevate their core business processes to meet international standards in order to ensure their relevance and leadership in the respective industries within which they play.

According to Emmanuel Bonoan, vice chairman and chief operating officer of R.G. Manabat & Co., the Philippine member firm of KPMG International (KPMG), it is in this regard—this movement to change and progress current economic practices—that the Philippines has made significant improvement.

Says Bonoan, “There has been greater emphasis on the part of government that, economically, we have to be part of the global ecosystem.” KPMG International, which recently released its 2015 Change Readiness Index (CRI) which ranks 127 countries in their capacity to prepare for and respond to accelerating change brought about by such factors as natural disasters, economic and political shocks, demographics and new technologies, cited the Philippines as the most change-ready country among the nations under the lower-middle income category.

“We’re currently at number 33 now, which is up from two years ago when the survey was last done,” informs Bonoan, adding that “some of the factors cited in our being able to respond to change was in terms of disaster response. I think that the Philippines has learned, especially since Haiyan, that the weather is never going to be the same as we knew it. Local governments, business groups, private groups and NGOs are now more concerned about how to respond to changes in the environment.”

This growing consciousness among Filipinos to be more change-ready is not only confined to the environmental aspect, but also in terms of the economy. “I tell our clients, had the CRI survey been taken more recently, the Philippines would’ve even improved its scores in the economic track because there’s greater awareness on the part of the country to be well prepared as the ASEAN Economic Community comes to play,” says Bonoan.

According to him, such movements by the government to open the country’s financial services sector, pass laws like the Philippine Competition Act, and amend the Cabotage Law reflect “a great emphasis on being able to respond to the economic situation, where we become more part of the fabric of international trade. We’re already very resilient in terms of the economic front,” Bonoan affirms.

Sustaining progress In further continuing the country’s economic rise, there is a need for the Philippines to develop higher numbers of world-class leaders. Being a key sponsor in the sixth Asia CEO Awards this November, KPMG places great emphasis on the role a good leadership team will play in furthering the country’s progress.

“We’ve been a sponsor of the Executive Leadership Team of the Year award for years now,” says Bonoan, adding that their decision to do so largely has to do with the nature of KPMG Philippines itself. “KPMG is a partnership, not a corporation, which means we’re rounded on real partnership principles where each partner has a say in how the firm is run. This presents its own unique set of challenges because how do you run a company where everyone should have a say or input? What we do is create a leadership team that’s representative of the partners.”

“Leadership in terms of by committee,” Bonoan avers, “can be very challenging. The group of leaders would have to be very in tune with each other. Obviously, you don’t have to think alike, but you need to have the same philosophies of wanting to grow the company, wanting the best clients, producing the best quality work, and hiring the best people in the organization. You’re bound to have diversity of views, and the challenge lies in how to make that diversity work for the organization rather than against it.”

It’s growing this particular set of leadership qualities among Philippine companies that KPMG wants to achieve in its sponsorship of the Asia CEO Awards’ Executive Leadership Team of the Year award. “All the past awardees embody this idea, and we look forward to what this year’s nominees and emerging winner will bring to the table,” he says, adding that the Asia CEO Awards’ mission is now more crucial than ever.

Since its inception, the Asia CEO Awards have continued to shine the spotlight on management teams and individuals who have made significant contributions to help build the Philippines into one of the world’s fastest growing economies. “The awards is essentially all about highlighting good business stories in the Philippines,” shares Richard Mills, co-founder and chairman of the Board of Judges of the Asia CEO Awards.

“It has been our primary mission from day one to promote the Philippines as an attractive investment destination and as a valuable source for potential leaders,” Mills says. “This year, we’re taking that mission forward by expanding the awards to include the entire ASEAN business sector. With the ASEAN coming together into a formidable economic community, we’ve been seeing excellent executive teams emerging not only in the local business scene, but in terms of the region as well.”

Now on its sixth year, the Asia CEO Awards will have 10 categories, including Oracle Technology Company of the Year; CSR Company of the Year; SPi Global Young Leader of the Year; Shore Solutions Most Innovative Company; NEC Quality Company; Jones Lang LaSalle Expatriate Executive of the Year; Smart Communications Global Filipino Executive; Meralco Top Employer Organization, and the KPMG Executive Leadership

Team. There are also two new award categories, namely the Hospitality Award and the First Carbon Solutions Green Company of the Year award.

Joining Mills in the Board of Judges are such high-profile leaders as Don Felbaum, former president of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines; Edward Chang, president of the Korean Chamber of Commerce Philippines; John Casey, former president of the Australia-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce Philippines; Jun Palafox, principal architect of world-renowned architectural design and planning firm, Palafox Associates; and Oscar Sanez, San Miguel vice president - International, and former CEO of Business Processing Association of the Philippines.

The 2015 Asia CEO Awards will be held November 11, 2015 at the grand ballroom of the Marriott Hotel Manila. Deadline of nominations is on September 28, 2015. To nominate and learn more about the awards, log on to www.asia-ceo-awards.org.

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