By Victor V. Saulon
MANILA ELECTRIC CO. (Meralco), the country’s biggest power distributor, has named Ray C. Espinosa as its incoming president and chief executive officer (CEO) when Oscar S. Reyes retires in May.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Meralco said the company’s board of directors, during a regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 28, approved the appointment of Mr. Espinosa as deputy chief executive officer effective on the same date.
“Mr. Espinosa will assume the position of President and Chief Executive Officer after Mr. Reyes leaves Meralco service on May 28, 2019,” the company said.
The deputy chief executive officer is a new position as Mr. Espinosa did not replace anyone. He reports directly to Mr. Reyes.
The company said Mr. Espinosa has been with Meralco since May 26, 2009. He heads the finance committee of the company’s board.
When Mr. Espinosa, Meralco’s current general counsel, assumes the top post, the company will just be days into its new 50-year corporate life from May 7, 2019. The listed utility, which counts about 6.5 million customers within its franchise area, secured a term extension from the Securities and Exchange Commission on Dec. 19 last year.
Mr. Reyes did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Mr. Espinosa’s appointment as well as his plans after retirement.
Sought for comment, Meralco Senior Vice-President Alfredo S. Panlilio described Mr. Reyes’s performance in the past nine years as “stellar.” Mr. Reyes has been president and CEO since May 29, 2012. He was chief operating officer from July 1, 2010 to May 28, 2012.
“The numbers will show it. I guess there is always a time to move on and I guess this was the right time for OSR,” he said in a text message, referring to Mr. Reyes’s initials.
“We welcome the entry of Ray and look forward to working with him in bringing Meralco to the next level,” said Mr. Panlilio, who also heads Meralco’s customer retail services and corporate communications.
Based on Meralco’s latest information statement which it filed with Philippine Stock Exchange in April last year, Mr. Espinosa finished Bachelor of Science in General Studies at the University of Sto. Tomas, Bachelor of Laws at the Ateneo de Manila University and Master of Laws at the University of Michigan Law School.
Also at that time, he was board member of the four listed companies, namely: PLDT, Inc.; Metro Pacific Investments Corp.; Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corp.; and Roxas Holdings Inc.
In April last year, Mr. Espinosa, who was 61 at that time, was chairman of Philstar Daily, Inc. and BusinessWorld Publishing Corp.; president of Mediaquest Holdings, Inc.; chief corporate services officer of PLDT; and head of PLDT’s regulatory affairs and policy office.
He was also trustee of the Beneficial Trust Fund of PLDT and head government and regulatory affairs and head communications bureau for the Philippines of First Pacific Group.
His other board memberships were Smart Communications, Inc.; Maybank Philippines, Inc.; First Pacific Co., Ltd.; Mediaquest Holdings, Inc.; Cignal TV. Inc.; First Agri Holdings, Inc.; First Coconut Manufacturing, Inc.; Philippine Telecommunications Investment Corp.; Metro Pacific Resources, Inc.; Meralco PowerGen Corp.; and TV5 Network, Inc.
A writeup about Mr. Espinosa in Meralco’s corporate governance report says this about him: “He was a partner of SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan from 1982 to 2000, a foreign associate at Covington and Burling (Washington D.C., USA) from 1987 to 1988, and a law lecturer at the Ateneo de Manila School of Law from 1983 to 1985 and 1989. He ranked first in the 1982 Philippine Bar examination.”
Meralco has yet to file its new information statement. The company will be holding its annual stockholders meeting on May 28, the same day Mr. Espinosa assumes his new position as president and CEO.
On Tuesday, shares in Meralco traded lower by 0.37% to close at P373.60 each.