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Manny Pangilinan to quit PLDT CEO post ‘soon’

Aika Rey

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Manny Pangilinan to quit PLDT CEO post ‘soon’

QUITTING SOON. PLDT chairman and CEO Manny Pangilinan sits a seat apart from chief revenue officer Al Panlilio during the telco's 2020 results briefing on March 4, 2021.

Screenshot from PLDT briefing

PLDT CEO Manny Pangilinan's main consideration before stepping down is income stability. He says the telco 'thrived' despite the 'year from hell' that was 2020.

Listed PLDT may soon have a new top boss, as Manny Pangilinan hinted about stepping down as chief executive officer “soon.”

In PLDT’s 2020 results briefing, the Philippine Daily Inquirer‘s Miguel Camus asked what happened to Pangilinan’s plans of relinquishing his post.

“I want to prove to the world that I would not cling to power. No, I’m not the type who would do that,” said Pangilinan on Thursday, March 4.

“There’s a time to give up and I think the time is soon. Don’t worry, I will,” he added.

In 2016, PLDT chairman Pangilinan took over the president and CEO post again following the retirement of Napoleon Nazareno.

The telecommunication giant has been on the lookout for a new CEO since then, but the main consideration before Pangilinan steps down is PLDT’s income stability.

Under Alfredo Panlilio as chief revenue officer, the telco joined the few outliers to reach revenue heights in the middle of a pandemic. Panlilio also heads PLDT’s wireless subsidiary Smart Communications.

On Thursday, PLDT announced that it ended 2020 with a 4% year-on-year increase in core profit to P28.1 billion. Its consolidated service revenues also reached a record high of P171.5 billion.

Growth in 2021

For 2021, PLDT eyes “high single-digit” growth, with the core net income guidance set between P29 billion and P30 billion.

Pangilinan said the main drivers for this year would still be its mobile internet and home broadband services which grew 29% to P62.2 billion and 16% to P33 billion, respectively, in 2020.

Despite government efforts to open up the economy, Pangilinan doesn’t think that the Philippines will return to its pre-pandemic lifestyle, which ties up with PLDT’s target of high double-digit broadband growth.

While the telco has a modest outlook this year, Pangilinan said it will push for higher profits.

“PLDT reached profit heights higher than P30 billion.… We won’t stop at P30 billion. We want to push on,” he said.

If PLDT maintains momentum, it will be able to give out a 5% special dividend in 2021, on top of the regular 60% dividend payout.

PLDT is eyeing to spend up to P92 billion for its capital expenditures, with fundraising activities planned within the year.

“With confidence built on how we not only weathered but thrived despite the ‘year from hell’ that was 2020, we anticipate more growth in 2021,” Pangilinan said. – Rappler.com

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.