By Chelsey Keith P. Ignacio, Special Features and Content Senior Writer

Businesses and executives in the country who have shown significant accomplishments in particular areas were once again recognized in this year’s Asia CEO Awards with Title Sponsor Globe Telecom.

Over 700 nominations were received in the awards for 2023, the largest in its 14-year history. Its Circle of Excellence awardees and the grand winners for the year were celebrated last Oct. 24 at the Manila Marriott Grand Ballroom in Pasay City.

From L-R: Asia CEO Awards Chairman Richard Mills, Asia CEO Events CEO Rebecca Bustamante, and Alex Mills

“When we first started doing this event 14 years ago, we had a hard time getting quality companies to really show themselves. Now, there’s more of the diversity and quality,” Asia CEO Awards Chairman Richard Mills said.

In each of the 15 categories, notable organizations and leaders that made important contributions to their industries and the country’s development were selected to be part of the Circle of Excellence. One of these Circle of Excellence awardees was hailed as the grand winner in their respective category during the awarding ceremony.

Asia CEO Awards also recognized Lifetime Contributor Awardees in the public and private sector, which were given to Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales and Alliance Global Group Chairman and Founder Andrew Tan, respectively, for 2023.

Foreign leaders who have attained success while running companies in the Philippines were honored in the Circle of Excellence for Expatriate Executive of the Year. This year, the recognition was bestowed on Wipro Philippines Country Head Aseem Roy. Executives who were part of the said award’s Circle of Excellence were Amit Jagga, SVP and country leader of Concentrix Philippines; Eng Teng Wong, president and CEO of Pru Life UK; Kais Marzouki, chairman and CEO of Nestlé Philippines; Praveer Chadha, SVP for Customer at Datamatics; Sanjiv Gupta, president and country head of IBM Solutions Delivery; Shiju Varghese, country head of Tata Consultancy Services; and Sudhir Agarwal, founder and CEO of Everise.

Young Leader of the Year for 2023 was given to Walther Buenavista, president and CEO of Shawarma Shack Group. Other young leaders who were recognized in the Circle of Excellence were Eric Darryl Lim, executive vice-president of Autokid Subic; James Lacsamana, head of IT at Eastvantage; Joshua Palisoc, COO of Ask Lex PH Academy; Mark Alvarez, managing partner for Southeast Asia at Human8; Ralph Ray Chua, chairman and president of Immuni Global; Rolan Marco Garcia, CEO and managing partner at Embiggen Group; and Sean Gabriel Villoria, CEO of GerWeiss Motors.

Asia CEO Awards’ Technology Company of the Year was EdukSine Production Corp., who bested other thriving technology companies in the Circle of Excellence, which included Ask Lex PH Academy; Dyson Electronics Pte. Ltd. Philippine Branch; GoTyme Bank; PCCW Solutions, Philippines, Inc.; Pili Seal; and Tata Consultancy Services (Philippines), Inc.

An organization with notable success in minding workplace health was awarded the Wellness Company of the Year, which went to Seda Hotels this year. Companies in the Circle of Excellence of this award were CBRE; Diageo APAC SSC Ltd, Inc.; Dyson Electronics Pte. Ltd. Philippine Branch; Hewlett Packard Enterprise; Infosys BPM Philippines; Manulife Business Processing Services; TDCX (PH), Inc.; Teleperformance Philippines; and VXI Global Holdings B.V. (Philippines).

From left: Oscar Sañez delivers his keynote speech; Bruce Winton delivers the welcome remarks; and Roderick Danao explaining the judging process.

Meanwhile, Nestlé Philippines, Inc. was recognized as the Diversity Company of the Year, winning over among the Circle of Excellence awardees, which included Aboitiz Land, Inc.; Foundever Philippines Corp.; Genpact Services LLC Philippines Branch; Hewlett Packard Enterprise; HSBC GSC Philippines; loveyourself, inc.; Manulife Business Processing Services; Northern Operating Services Asia, Inc.; Shell Companies in the Philippines; Teleperformance Philippines; TTEC; and Ubisoft Philippines.

Successful small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were also celebrated by the Asia CEO Awards. The SME Company of the Year was conferred to Immuni Global. Autokid Subic Trading Corp.; DynaQuest Technology Services, Inc.; eBIZolution, Inc.; Embiggen Group; Hytex Power, Inc.; Motovita; Ova Virtual; PSO (Manila) Limited Philippine Branch Office; and What’s your FLAN International Group of Franchise Companies were the SMEs who make up the Circle of Excellence.

Winning the Service Excellence Company of the Year was Asian Hospital and Medical Center. Other organizations that demonstrated service excellence and belonged to this year’s Circle of Excellence were Amaia Land Corp.; CGI Philippines, Inc.; Eastvantage Business Solutions, Inc.; GoTyme Bank; ING Hubs Philippines; the Public Attorney’s Office; Sprout Solutions; Sutherland Global Services; Theos Cybers Solutions; Tech Mahindra Limited; and Unified Internship Program.

Organizations that have developed “a meaningful innovation” are recognized in the Circle of Excellence for Most Innovative Company of the Year, with Maya being hailed as the grand winner. Among the companies in the Circle of Excellence were ALLCARE Technologies Philippines, Inc.; CGI Philippines, Inc.; Converge ICT Solutions, Inc.; Embiggen Group; GoTyme Bank; Maybank Philippines; MDI Novare; Ramco Systems; Traxion Tech; VXI Global Holdings B.V. (Philippines); and Western Digital Storage Technologies (Philippines) Corp.

Filipino women leaders in the private sector and the government were also honored by the Asia CEO Awards with the recognition of Woman Leader of the Year. The award went to Microsourcing and Beepo CEO Haidee Enriquez. Notable women leaders in the Circle of Excellence were Abigail Del Rosario, country director of Maybank; Annalyn Cuisia, CEO and founder of Traxion Tech; Cosette Canilao, president and CEO of Aboitiz InfraCapital; Divine Gomez, partner – BPO, Talent at IBM Business Services; Grace Vera Cruz, country head of Grab Philippines; Lotis Ramin, country president of AstraZeneca; Ma. Rhodora Campos, country head of Infosys BPM; Marilene Acosta, CEO of Pag-IBIG Fund; Nerissa Gerial, deputy executive director at NKTI; Rosemarie Rafael, chairperson and CEO of Airspeed Group; and Tonichi Parekh, vice-president at Concentrix.

In the area of sustainability, Robinsons Land Corp.’s Commercial Centers Division (Robinsons Malls) won as the Sustainability Company of the Year. Organizations that are also recognized for their sustainability commitment were Aboitiz InfraCapital; Alaska Milk Corp.; Bank of the Philippine Islands; Concentrix Philippines; DynaQuest Technology Services, Inc.; Filinvest REIT Corp.; Foundever Philippines Corp.; Land Bank of the Philippines; Lexmark Research and Development Corp.; Nestlé Philippines, Inc.; and the Securities and Exchange Commission Philippines.

Entrepreneurs who have successfully grown their businesses from scratch were also recognized, with Sante International CEO Jesus Joey Marcelo winning the honor of Entrepreneur of the Year. The award’s Circle of Excellence included Charlotte Reyes, founder and president of OVA Virtual; Chet Pastrana, president and CEO of APFC; Francisco Magsaysay, founder of Carmen’s Best; Joash Tubaga, owner founder of FIXMYMAC I.T.; Maria Angeline Fon, founder of Thinkstitute PHL; Mharicar Castillo-Reyes, president and CEO of Asticom Group; Regieno Valencia, owner of Interior Construction; Rolan Marco Garcia, CEO and managing partner at Embiggen Group; Rommel Carlos, CEO of Nokarin & Arcus; and Victor Lim, co-founder and CEO of Kraver’s.

From left: Don Felbaum, Richard Mills, Dr. Winston Conrad B. Padojinog, Alex Cabrera, and Felino “Jun” Palafox, Jr., members of the board of judges of Asia CEO Awards 2023

Asia CEO Awards also celebrated Filipino business leaders who have shown success within or beyond the country. Infosys BPM Philippines Country Head Ma. Rhodora Campos was awarded as the Global Filipino Executive of the Year, winning over other leaders in the award’s Circle of Excellence, including Dante Abando, president of Makati Development Corp.; Eppie Titong III, SVP and country manager at VXI Global; Jennire Torres, CEO of Atos; Atty. Jose Martin Loon, president and CEO of Cocolife; Lito Villanueva, EVP and CIIO at RCBC; and Raymund Berja, chief financial officer at AirAsia Philippines.

Meanwhile, the Executive Leadership Team of the Year was given to companies with successful executive management. IBM in the Philippines Consulting Client Innovation Center won the recognition, while the other organizations in the Circle of Excellence were Airspeed Group of Companies; Datamatics Global Services Corp.; Eastvantage Business Solutions, Inc.; Filinvest Land., Inc.; Maya; Northern Operating Services Asia, Inc.; Sante International, Sprout Solutions; and VXI Global Holdings B.V. (Philippines).

Organizations notably demonstrating their corporate social responsibility (CSR) became part of the Circle of Excellence for CSR Company of the Year, with Maybank Philippines being the grand winner while the other recognized organizations were DynaQuest Technology Services, Inc.; EXL Service Philippines, Inc.; Gardenia Bakeries (Philippines), Inc.; Genpact Services LLC Philippines Branch; HSBC Global Service Centre Philippines; Innodata Knowledge Services, Inc.; KMC Solutions; Manila Water Foundation; Nezda Technologies, Inc.; OpenText (Philippines), Inc.; Personal Collection; Procter & Gamble Philippines; TDCX (PH), Inc.; and Wipro Philippines, Inc.

Companies are also honored as employers in the Asia CEO Awards. Concentrix Philippines won as the Top Employer of the Year. Employers in the Circle of Excellence were [24] Philippines; United Coconut Planters Life Assurance Corp.; Gardenia Bakeries (Philippines), Inc.; Hewlett Packard Enterprise; HSBC Global Service Centre Philippines; IBM in the Philippines; PepsiCo, Inc. Philippine Branch; Shopping Center Management Corp.; Tech Mahindra Limited; Teleperformance Philippines; TTEC; and Wipro Philippines, Inc.

Grand winners and Circle of Excellence awardees in this year’s Asia CEO Awards were also acknowledged and reminded on their role for economic growth.

“All the industries that each of you represent tonight are builders of economic progress. You are all stakeholders standing behind the industries that are boosters of economic engine. Each one of you has a stake in this; each one of you is invested in this. I’d like every one of you to remember that,” said Oscar Sañez, founding CEO of what is now IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) and an emeritus judge at Asia CEO Awards, in his keynote during the event. “Your leadership expertise is being recognized for your contribution to building this economy.”

“All of you in the Circle of Excellence, as soon as you walk up the stage to receive your trophies, are committing to this mission to invest your talent in boosting this engine of economic growth. This is the only way we can prove that this program has stayed true to its mission,” he continued.