The Medical City said Monday its new board of directors and management team, who were elected and appointed by a majority of its stockholders, scored a legal victory against former chief executive Alfred Bengzon.
Citing there is “no dispute that a special stockholders meeting took place on Sept. 13, 2018, where members of the board of directors were elected by a majority of the stockholders,” the court ruled that the new board and management should stay in place at TMC as they “appear to have a clear and unmistakable right that is entitled to protection.”
“This is a clear victory for TMC stockholders, who have struggled to protect their rights against a former CEO who ignored the pleas of the majority of stockholders asking for better governance and more respect for shareholder rights,” TMC chairman Jose Xavier Gonzales said in a statement.
“The by-laws state that stockholders have a right to vote, and Dr. Bengzon, by arbitrarily refusing to hold scheduled elections last June, took out that right from them,” he said.
Gonzales said it was “worth noting that Dr. Bengzon owns 0.1% of TMC shares, but seemed intent on controlling the money and investments of shareholders who put in 99.9% of the capital of TMC.”
The courtroom victory also gives momentum to a continuing series of reforms now being undertaken at TMC, he said.
“There’s a sense of freedom in the air, and the previous atmosphere of fear has been lifted,” said newly appointed TMC chief executive Eugenio Jose Ramos. “More people are speaking up and contributing ideas on how we can improve, and that is the kind of collaboration that we are all hoping for,” he said.
Former health secretary Enrique Ona, a TMC shareholder, agreed, saying “I like what I am seeing now, as there is more organization, more openness, and transparency.
“It is now beginning to look like a better governed, well-managed public corporation instead of a domineeringly patriarchal family business,” Ona said.
One significant event in recent weeks was the formation of the Medical City Doctors Association, an independent group of doctors who aim to “protect the rights and interests of its members and maintain integrity, transparency and open communication among all TMC stakeholders.”
MCDA head Alan Olavere vowed to work on much-needed reforms that would allow for more doctor participation and better patient care.
“There is now a renewed feeling of hope and confidence amongst the stakeholders of TMC, and we all want to work together to make sure that needed changes will continue to take place,” he said.