Passion and Philosophy: Atty. Ray C. Espinosa
Before Ray C. Espinosa assumed the position of president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the country’s biggest power distributor Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), he became instrumental to the success that the PLDT, Inc. currently enjoys. Although Mr. Espinosa now holds the top post at Meralco, his stint at PLDT continues as he remains to be a member of its board.
Mr. Espinosa has been considered as one of the trusted lieutenants of PLDT Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan. He initially joined the firm in 1998 as a director, before leaving his post at the law firm SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan where he became a partner from 1982 to 2000.
In an episode of Bloomberg TV Philippines’ Thought Leaders which aired in 2016, Mr. Espinosa shared some of his experiences during his early years at PLDT, which recently took control by First Pacific Co. Ltd. (a Hong Kong-based company founded by Mr. Pangilinan) that time after acquiring a 17.5% stake in the firm.
“When we came in, true enough, there was just five of us and we walked to this place — PLDT — not knowing people who would be working for us,” Mr. Espinosa said. “For quite some time, we would just huddled every 5 o’clock and exchange notes as to what did you learn today, and so how do we do these and do that.”
Eventually, people at PLDT, according to Mr. Espinosa, saw Mr. Pangilinan as a catalyst for change, and fully embraced his strategies thereafter. Following the acquisition by the First Pacific group, Mr. Pangilinan replaced Antonio O. Cojuangco as president and CEO of PLDT, and brought in a new culture in the company.
“We just do what’s necessary: to change the company and make it adapt to the modern time, and make it more competitive,” Mr. Espinosa said.
For more than two decades, Mr. Espinosa has held various positions at PLDT and its subsidiaries. He is a director of Smart and ePLDT, Inc. and a trustee of the Beneficial Trust Fund of PLDT and PLDT-Smart Foundation, Inc. He served as the president and CEO of ePLDT and its subsidiaries until April 2010 and the head of PLDT’s regulatory and strategic affairs until December 2016.
As part of PLDT’s crucial digital pivot, Mr. Espinosa was also appointed by Mr. Pangilinan as the company’s chief corporate services officer. He was tasked to manage corporate services related to corporate affairs and legal services, regulatory affairs and policies, supply chain management, property and facilities management, asset protection and risk management, business continuity and resilience, data privacy, and corporate communications and public affairs.
He retained at the post until Jan. 28 of this year, when he was appointed as the deputy chief executive officer of Meralco.
At present, the culture of innovation is ingrained in all parts of PLDT to bring its operations to world-class standards and become the best telecommunications company in the region. The company says in its Web site that it currently leads the wireless race, dominates the landline domain, operates the premiere satellite company, and has raced to the number one position in the Internet world, both broadband and narrow band. — Mark Louis F. Ferrolino