Leaders and businesses that remained on top despite the challenges brought by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic were recognized at the 12th Asia CEO Awards, which is themed “Recover, Reset, and Reignite.”

Held annually since 2010, the Asia CEO Awards seeks to highlight leadership accomplishments that contribute to building the nation.

This year, notably, the Awards received its highest number of nominations, with 514 leaders and organizations coveting to be among the Circle of Excellence awardees and eventually become the grand winners.

Evaluating these leaders and businesses were the board of judges, comprising of Dr. Bernie Villegas, a distinguished economist, author, and professor in the Philippines; Don Felbaum, former president of America Chamber of Commerce; Oscar Sañez, CEO of Business Process Association of the Philippines; Atty. Darlene Berberabe, former CEO of Pag-IBIG Fund; Arch. Jun Palafox, Jr., principal architect of Palafox Associates; and Richard Mills, chairman of Asia CEO Awards.

DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones, recipient of the Lifetime Contributor Award for the public sector

This year, the Lifetime Contributor Award for the public sector went to the Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones for being adamant that the development of the nation’s young people must continue.

Sec. Briones spent much of her career in the education sector. She was previously the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Siliman University and the Regent of the Universidad de Manila. Before her current post, she was the secretary of the Commission of Audit and served as the Treasurer of the Philippines. She also became the Lead Convenor of Social Watch Philippines.

“Very pleased that more and more public and private sector executive leaderships are getting together,” Ms. Briones expressed. “We used to think of each other separately because we thought we have different goals. Now, we see a confluence and convergence in meeting our common goals, especially at this time of the pandemic.”

San Miguel Corp. President & CEO Ramon Ang delivers the keynote during the ceremony.

Last year, San Miguel Corporation President and CEO Ramon S. Ang received a recognition from Asia CEO Awards as a Lifetime Contributor for the private sector. He delivered a keynote during this year’s awarding ceremony.

Exceptional leaders
The awards, held on Oct. 12, recognized numerous leaders, including young executives, women leaders, and expatriate executives.

Paolo S. Bugayong, the president and CEO of APPPPS Partners, Inc., is the grand winner of the Entrepreneur of the Year. Among the nominees for this award were Isagani G. Buenaflor, chairman of Diamond Rent a Car; Janice Arino, CEO of Service Economy Application Inc.; Josef Werker, CEO & co-founder of Humble and managing director of Penbrother; Laurice A. Chiongbian, president and CEO of Qavalo, Inc.; Jonathan So, VP and CEO of JC/Toktok; Dr. Carl E. Balita, president and CEO of Carl Balita Review Center; Felix Veroya, founder and CEO of Ask Lex PH Academy; and Jean Henri Lhuillier, president and CEO of PJ Lhuillier, Inc.

Josef Werker is the recipient of the grand award for the Young Leader of the Year. The other young leaders nominated for this award were Joshua I.L. Palisoc, COO of Ask Lex; Rodolfo Medina Jr, CEO and President of Medical Depot Young Leader; Atty. Jose Martin A. Loon, President and CEO of Cocolife; Angelo Tan Country Lead of International Finance Corp.; Dann Angelo de Guzman, founder and CEO of Cloudswyft Global; Avin C. Ong, CEO of Fredley Group; Jettson Yu, managing director of Prime Philippines; and Irymarc “Tryke” Gutierrez, CEO and co-founder of Tier One Entertainment.

Ana Patricia Non, the woman who started that Maginhawa Community Pantry, received the Young SHERO of the Year grand award. Other women leader awardees were Maureen Nova Ledesma, co-founder & CMO of Vesl Pte Ltd.; Nina Opida, co-founder & COO of Humble Sustainability; Joy Anya T. Lim, co-founder and creative director of Anthill Fabric Gallery; Malou Perez, Founder of Pawssion Project; Charlene Vee Tan, CEO of All Vision Business; Therese Clarence Fernandez-Ruiz, president and founding partner – of Rag2 Riches; Cecilia Therese Guiao, co-founder of Para Bukas; Karen Jane Salutan, CEO and founder of Pinoy Indie Films Road Show; Jenica Dizon, country director of Waves For Water Philippines; and Ray Alyannah Ysabel L. Lagasca, National Chairperson of Youth for Mental Health.

Myla Villanueva, chairman of MDI Novare Technologies, is the grand winner of the Global Filipino Executive of the Year. Among the business leaders who were included for such honor were Ronald Mascariñas, president of Bounty Agro; Lourdes Josephine Gotianun Yap, president and CEO of Filinvest Land and Filinvest Development Corporation; Gil G. Chua, group chairman and CEO of DDB Group; Valerie R. Badilla, CEO of Learn Group; Rosemarie Rafael, chairwoman and president of Airspeed Group of Companies; Antonio G. de Rosas, president and CEO of Prulife UK.

Michael McCullough, the chief executive officer of KMC Solutions, is the grand winner for the Expatriate Executive of the Year. The other nominees for this award were Raghu Krishnan, president and managing director of Johnson & Johnson Phils.; David Minol CEO of Home Credit; Jared Morrison, COO of VXI Global; Amit Jagga, SVP and Country Leader of Concentrix; John Nicholls Site Lead of Paypal; and Aseem Roy, Country Head of WIPRO.

The 12th Asia CEO Awards also recognized the extraordinary efforts of healthcare workers, particularly acknowledging the Philippine Medical Association and the Philippine Nurses Association for their “dedications and sacrifices in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic” and being “part of Filipino heroes and heroines.”

Richard Mills, chairman of Asia CEO Awards, delivers a short message during the ceremony.

Leading companies
Organizations across industries and sectors were also recognized for their respective feats, be it in terms of corporate social responsibility, sustainability, or innovation, to name a few.

Magsaysay People Resources Corporation received the CSR Company of the Year grand distinction. Alaska Milk Corporation, Allianz PNB Life Insurance, Datamatics CMS Philippines, Home Credit, HSBC Philippines, Lexmark Research and Development Corporation, Reed Elsevier Shared Services (Philippines), Telstra International Philippines, and TELUS International Philippines were among the nominees for the CSR Company of the Year.

The Most Innovative Company of the Year went to Megawide Construction Corporation, topping Bountry Agro Ventures, CIMB Bank Philippines, Green Antz Builders, Land Bank of the Philippines, Lexmark Research and Development Corporation, and PayMaya Philippines.

Converge ICT Solutions, a major connectivity provider in the country, was awarded as the Technology Company of the Year. Cloudswyft Global Systems, DynaQuest Technology Services, FinScore, Microsoft Philippines, Multisys Technologies Corporation, PayMaya Philippines, and PCCW Solutions Philippines were also nominated for this award.

The Sustainability Company of the Year acknowledged Mondelez Philippines as its grand winner. Booth & Partners Philippines, Filinvest REIT Corporation, Land Bank of the Philippines, Mother Earth Foundation, NEO, and Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission were also among the nominees in this award.

The Wellness Company of the Year recognition went to Western Union, besting Qavalo, Inc., Sitel Philippines, PayPal Philippines, Genpact Services LLC – Philippine Branch, Johnson & Johnson Philippines/Johnson & Johnson Global Services, Quantrics Enterprises, Inc., and VXI Global Holding B.V.

The Service Excellence Company of the Year was bestowed to AC Health. The rest of the nominees were CGI Philippines, Inc., Magsaysay Shipping and Logistics, Concentrix Philippines, VXI Global Holdings B.V., HC Consumer Finance Philippines Inc. (HOME CREDIT), Wipro Philippines Inc., and Teletech.

Qavalo is honored as the SME Company of the Year. Pepper Money/PSO (Manila), MEGI Group, Victory Group of Companies, Morination Agricultural Products, Ask Lex PH Academy, and Fredley Group of Companies were also nominated for this recognition.

IBM won the Diversity Company of the Year over Metropolitan Bank, Mondelez Philippines, DMCI Holdings, Inc., Telstra International Philippines Inc., Western Union Services Philippines, Inc., and Bounty Agro Ventures, Inc.

The Top Employer of the Year is granted to San Miguel Corporation, winning over Real Estate – Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Datamatics CMS – Philippines, ING Business Shared Services B.V. Branch Office (IBSS Manila); Bountry Agro Ventures Inc., Wipro Philippines Inc., Manulife Business Processing Services, and Megaworld Corporation.

GT Capital Holdings, Inc. won the Executive Leadership Team of the Year. It has allocated P1.3 billion for various efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, protect health workers and frontliners, build laboratories to process tests, and support several public hospitals and health research institutions. — Chelsey Keith P. Ignacio