Past winners of the ING-FINEX CFO of the Year trophy share their stories of resiliency
Part and parcel of excellence in financial stewardship is the ability to withstand crises and recuperate in the aftermath. It’s a quality shared by winners of the ING-FINEX CFO of the Year trophy, the Philippines’ most prestigious award that honors the most outstanding chief financial officers.
In time this month for the 16th edition of the longest-running award bestowed to exceptional CFOs, past awardees of the ING-FINEX CFO of the Year share stories of their biggest battles and how they overcame them.
Whether it’s navigating adverse economic conditions or a global health crisis, these awardees managed to get through. Their leadership serves as an inspiration for the next ING-FINEX CFO of the Year, who will be judged according to his or her role as strategist, catalyst, steward, operator, and, most of all, game-changer.
Delfin Gonzales, 2007 awardee with Globe Telecom, Inc.
As if making the transition to a nascent industry wasn’t enough of a challenge, pioneer ING-FINEX CFO of the Year Delfin Gonzales had to watch an ugly scene unfold on the day of the awarding ceremony.
It was November 29, 2007, and right across the event venue of Makati Shangri-La Hotel, the Manila Peninsula siege took place at noon. The event was canceled, but by nightfall, the situation had normalized and the awarding proceeded. Gonzales remained unfazed, just as he did when he joined Globe Telecom Inc., which was at the height of its growing pains.
“One of my biggest challenges as a CFO was raising money in so short a time and especially when the markets were closing in on you,” Gonzales said in a 2012 newspaper feature. Ultimately, he pulled through and Globe went on a nationwide expansion, bringing the company to new heights.
Anabelle Lim-Chua, 2022 awardee with PLDT Inc.
Moving on from the first awardee to the most recent, Anabelle Lim-Chua has been with PLDT for more than 20 years. She has seen it all, from economic collapses to a global pandemic changing lives.
The finance chief’s biggest victory, however, comes from letting people understand the importance of the story behind the numbers.
“I always believe that numbers need to tell the story,” said Lim-Chua, who served a pivotal role in PLDT’s return to the international capital market after an 18-year hiatus, a move recognized by the International Financing Review as the Philippines’ “Best Capital Market Deal of the Year.”
She added that people the key is to democratize what the numbers are saying. “We have to look at the people, the work they put in, what they’re doing to achieve these numbers. And that has made me realize that being a CFO is much more than knowing my numbers–that being an outstanding CFO meant being a positive force in all aspects of the business, in all parts of the organization.”
Mylene Kasiban, 2020 awardee with Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc.
One can imagine dealing with difficulties during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. For Mylene Kasiban, the task proved to be even taller as the finance chief of Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc.
But while many had to adjust on the fly, Kasiban had already put systems in place that helped the group through those most challenging times. Finance transformation was implemented, as the CFO made her finance team business partners.
“That has helped us manage crises, especially the pandemic,” she said. Implemented as well were innovative ways to simplify processes across the company.
Jose Jerome Pascual III, 2014 awardee with Shell Philippines Exploration, B.V.
Jose Jerome Pascual III was not even supposed to be in the finance industry, much less become a high-ranking official and an ING-FINEX CFO of the Year awardee.
But Pascual has always embraced challenges since his father taught him early on to be prepared for anything.
“It was the training I received from my father during adolescence that prepared me for the challenges in the corporate world,” Pascual said during his acceptance speech. “‘Do more than what is expected,’ he said, ‘and be ready when the opportunity arises.’ The consequences of poor performances are severe, but the rewards are great for those who succeed.”
Indeed, it takes more than proficiency in the numbers game to become an outstanding CFO. An ING-FINEX CFO of the Year, in particular, must have a strong resolve to overcome any obstacle as a true game-changer.
For more information about the ING-FINEX CFO of the Year Award, visit www.ingfinexcfooftheyear.com.