Global financial-services firm ING Bank and finance professionals group Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (Finex) announced on Monday Teodoro K. Limcaoco of Ayala Corp. as its 11th Chief Financial Officer of the Year.
Limcaoco was chosen the ING-Finex CFO of the Year from among the country’s top financial executives in business, government and professional services that focus on social development, capital market growth, good governance, business ethics, education and small and medium enterprises.
As the fifth awardee from the Ayala-led businesses, Limcaoco attributed his success to the diverse training opportunities the corporation has offered him in dealing with the challenges in consumer and institutional businesses and social development projects.
Limcaoco took charge of various decision-maker positions for the corporation, including directorship of Globe Telecom Inc., Ayala Hotels Inc., Ayala Healthcare Holdings Inc., Ayala Aviation Corp. and Ayala Education Inc.
However, he said his appointments as president of BPI Capital Corp. and the Bank of the Philippine Island’s thrift arm BPI Family Savings Bank was for him a solid foundation as CFO who can turn theories to practical applications, spot opportunities and troubles and devise efficient and appropriate growth strategies.
“Aurelio ‘Gig’ Montinola III, former head of BPI, who took me in at the bank and allowed me to lead the BPI Cap team first and the BPI Family Bank team later, led by setting clear goals, coaching and challenging. I first disagreed with him when he yanked me out of BPI Cap after three and a half years to be a consumer banker, but Family Bank was where I learned the most,” Limcaoco said in his acceptance speech at the New World Hotel in Makati City.
Limcaoco, who has been a banker for eight years now and served as president of the Chamber of Thrift Banks, board member of the Philippine Stock Exchange and Bankers Association of the Philippines and treasurer of the Ayala Foundation Inc. and Ayala Life Assurance Inc. and president of nonprofit social service organization Rotary Club in Makati West, learned that a CFO has more encompassing duties beyond managing a firm’s finances but also ensuring the health and well-being of all its stakeholders through business operations and culture.
He said this combination would ultimately determine the top CFO in the after years as an agile CFO enabling change, this year’s award theme.
“I have come to believe that my mindset has changed in that, while I still believe that, as managers, we report to our shareholders, our fiduciary responsibility belongs to the company—that is, we need to ensure the longevity and long-term sustainability of the organization we work for. This means that while shareholders have their interests, we need to also just as equally consider the interests of all stakeholders: employees, customers, suppliers, community—and if necessary, trade off short-term gains for long-term benefits,” Limcaoco said.
Thus, he said the Ayala group under his leadership will further improve its operations, explore resources and consult with various communities, public and private sectors to create sustainable, inclusive and environmentally friendly spaces, products and services in the country.
“Our commitment to work on the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] is part of this effort and I encourage all to look into the SDGs,” Limcaoco said.
Ayala Land, its real-estate development arm, was recently named the Most Socially Responsible Company of the Year at the Asia Corporate Excellence and
Sustainability Awards in Singapore.
“At Ayala, we are known for large businesses that touch many lives—Ayala Land, BPI, Globe, Manila Water. Lesser known are the nascent businesses we have today that touch a smaller number of lives but are no less important. I relish the fact that we are growing these businesses that make a difference in their communities,” Limcaoco said.
Since he joined the Ayala Corp. in 1998, the business group has grown into a $10.7-billion company in asset terms, ranked 107th among the top global companies by Forbes in May and expanded into community-based projects, along with telecommunications, utilities, logistics, financial and insurance services.
As CFO, Limcaoco also monitors the Family Doc clinics of the Ayalas that provides quality health care to rich and poorer families.
He said a Family Doc clinic in Las Piñas was able to help a baby who suffered from severe dehydration as a consequence of diarrhea.
“That Family Doc clinic in Fenina, Las Piñas cost P5 million to build, and every peso was worth it if only to save people like baby Emma and to educate mothers like Ma’am Sally. Today, we have 21 Family Doc clinics, and have aspirations to grow this network. I am grateful that, as Ayala CFO, I have the opportunity to work with the Family Doc team,” Limcaoco said.
Thus, he said, he encourages younger future CFOs to develop values, such as social responsibility, to overcome the emerging challenges of financial executives who now must not only guide the CEOs but also lead with an overall strategy of the company for its various aspects.
“The reality is this: The success of good governance is not because of rules but because of character. We need to spend more time with our potential successors and with our young professionals to let them realize that character is more important than technical skills,” he said.
“As corporations and businesses evolve to be more responsible to all their stakeholders, so too will the responsibility of a CFO evolve to address and ensure the long-term sustainability of his or her business. This is the challenge we all face and must prepare our successors to address.”