Isidro A. Consunji (second from left) receives this year’s MAP Management Man of the Year award in a ceremony last Nov. 28. —

When he was first nominated for the Management Association of the Philippines’ (MAP) prestigious award of “MAP Management Man of the Year 2022,” Isidro A. Consunji, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of DMCI Holdings, Inc., thought to ask to be withdrawn from consideration.

“I don’t think I’ve done anything extraordinary to deserve a nomination,” Mr. Consunji said in his acceptance speech during MAP’s awards ceremony last Nov. 28. He instead offered up a list of other names he thought were more deserving, including his father, the late Engr. David M. Consunji, who founded the company he now leads.

MAP confers the “Management Man of the Year” award to individuals in business or government, MAP member or not, who have attained clear and inarguable distinction in management, in addition to making valuable contributions to the country’s development and shaping its national values.

“If my father was here today, I’m sure he would laugh and say ‘Kamote ’yan eh’ (He’s a dimwit). Dad, wherever you are today, I hope this kamote made you and mom proud,” he said.

Mr. Consunji took D. M. Consunji, Inc.’s (DMCI) reins from his father, David “DM” Consunji, a civil engineer who started the construction company before it grew into the conglomerate it is today.

DMCI started small, from constructing chicken houses for the Bureau of Animal Industry, until it has gradually built up a reputation for its punctuality and quality work. Since then, the company moved on to major projects such as the Tacloban Coca-Cola Plant and Bacnotan Cement Plant.

“When DMCI was founded in 1954, my father’s ultimate objective was to build not only an enterprise, but an institution. By that he meant a business that could provide service to the community, stability and protection to his people. Fast-forward 30 years, we’re still nowhere near that,” Mr. Consunji recounted.

He said that as a contractor, they were beholden to the projects of prospective clients and winning bids for those projects. Thus, their growth was limited, and they could not plan the long-term strategies that could bring their vision of the company to reality.

Mr. Consunji had an engineering background, but he admitted to have been more interested in the business management side of running a business. He spent a lot of time with his father on construction sites, and it was through such experiences that he learned how to deal with “difficult employees, angry suppliers, and tough customers,” as well as the importance of productivity, efficiency, and cash flow.

With a newly discovered passion for business, he had grand ideas about how he could grow DMCI, and in 1995, DMCI Holdings was incorporated as a holding company to consolidate all construction business, construction component companies, and related interests of the Consunji family.

The rest was history. In only a few years after incorporation, they expanded their reach to include five major subsidiaries, namely: D.M. Consunji, Inc.; DMCI Project Developers, Inc.; Semirara Mining and Power Corp.; DMCI Power Corp.; and DMCI Mining Corp. DMCI Holdings and its subsidiaries are engaged in construction, real estate, coal and nickel mining, power generation, and water distribution.

The company also has an indirect ownership in Maynilad Water Services, Inc. through a 27% stake in Maynilad Water Holding Co., Inc., which owns 93% of the water concessionaire.

With more than five decades of solid track record in the construction business, DMCI enjoyed the continued patronage of institutional clients such as the Ayala Group; SM Group; Kuok Group; Robinson’s Group; San Miguel Corp.; banking institutions such as the Citibank, N.A., Bank of the Philippine Islands, Equitable and Urban Bank; educational institutions such as the University of the Philippines, and De La Salle University; and multinationals such as the John Laing, Obayashi, Mitsubishi Heavy, Oriken, and Nippon Steel. Also, industrial companies and some government agencies have sought the expertise and services of DMCI and still maintain partnerships with the company to this day.

Mr. Consunji has held the position of the company’s director for 25 years. A graduate of B.S. Civil Engineering at the University of the Philippines like his father, Mr. Consunji then obtained his Master’s degree in Business Economics from the Center for Research and Communication and Masters in Business Management from the Asian Institute of Management, and attended the Advanced Management Program at Instituto de Estudios Superiores de la Empresa (IESE) in Barcelona, Spain.

For the past five years, he has been the president of DMCI-HI, Dacon Corp. and Asia Industries, Inc. He is also the chairman of the board of directors of DMCI Mining Corp., D.M. Consunji, Inc., DMCI Homes, and Beta Electric Corp. He is the vice-chairman of Maynilad Water Services, Inc., and director of Semirara Mining and Power Corp., DMCI/MPIC Water Co., Inc., Crown Equities, Inc., Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp., Carmen Copper Corp., Sem-Calaca Power Corp., Berong Nickel Corp., Toledo Mining Corp. and ENK PLC (London).

He was also the former president of the Philippine Constructors Association and Philippine Chamber of Coal Mines, Inc. At present, he is the chairman of the board of the Philippine Overseas Construction Board and a board member of Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines.

Awarding him with the “MAP Management Man of the Year 2022,” MAP recognized Mr. Consunji’s “personal contributions to shaping national values and inspiring others through his track record of integrity, managerial competence and professional leadership.”

“Some people see life as a series of moments. For me, being an avid reader, I see it as a book with blank chapters. You pen your own story and hope in the end it’s one worth reading and retelling,” Mr. Consunji said in his speech.

“My story is not yet done. I think I have enough gas in the tank to start a second career, and in a few years, I may surprise all of you. With more idle time, I hope to foray into agriculture and create sustainable value in the countryside,” he continued, hinting a possible new venture for his conglomerate.

Closing his speech, Mr. Consunji also addressed the leaders and managers of the next generation to give them advice.

“Play to your team’s strengths. When we were building our business portfolio, we did not have much financial strength. I had to be cautious with our investments. I always asked myself, ‘Do we have the organizational competence to make up for our small balance sheet?’. As leaders and business managers, we need to have a clear understanding of our organization and our people. I believe that self-knowledge and humility lead to better decision-making,” he said.

Mr. Consunji thanked economist Dr. Bernardo “Bernie” M. Villegas for teaching him such lessons.

“He was responsible for instilling a spiritual character in my work. Through him, I realized that making a profit is not the sole objective of business. Instead, business should be a catalyst for shared prosperity, that we should do what we can to bring sunshine into the lives of our fellow Filipinos,” he said.

“I don’t consider myself a religious man, but I do believe your work can be your prayer.” — Bjorn Biel M. Beltran