BUSINESSMAN Manuel V. Pangilinan stepped down as president and chief executive officer (CEO) of PLDT, Inc. on Tuesday.

“At the end of this meeting, I will discharge my duty as president and CEO of PLDT. I’ve asked Al to succeed me in this position,” Mr. Pangilinan said at the company’s virtual annual stockholders’ meeting, referring to PLDT Chief Revenue Officer Alfredo S. Panlilio.

Mr. Pangilinan remains as chairman of the company. Mr. Panlilio is also president and CEO of PLDT unit Smart Communications, Inc.

“I will continue to be your chairman; and as such, I will always follow the affairs and fortunes of our company with profound interest,” Mr. Pangilinan said.

“I look forward to a great future for PLDT where our accomplishments will match our service and our passion with our purpose,” he added.

Responding to Mr. Pangilinan, Mr. Panlilio said: “I greatly look forward to supporting you and working with you in this new capacity.”

“As CEO, I will work diligently to materialize our responsibility to realize our vision for PLDT as a true customer-centric… company that empowers all Filipinos in building a stronger nation by providing world-class connectivity as a human right, asserting the Philippines as a key player in the global arena, and actively embarking on sustainable development to secure everyone’s future,” Mr. Panlilio added.

Mr. Pangilinan said choosing Mr. Panlilio to be his successor was “made less difficult by the knowledge that Al, with his long experience with PLDT and his competent qualities, would be able to take my place forthwith, without interruption or detriment to the progress of PLDT.”

“As the new CEO, I am far from perfect, and I will need unsparing support, cooperation and trust from everyone here. But I pledge to serve you well,” Mr. Panlilio said.

Mr. Pangilinan said he first became PLDT president “23 years ago.”

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Arjay L. Balinbin