News and Events

March 13, 2009 Special Academic Convocation

Manuel V. Pangilinan- Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa


Born in Manila to a Tagalog mother and a Kapampangan father from Apalit, Manuel Valdez Pangilinan grew up in a middle-class family. He finished high school at the San Beda College and graduated cum laude from the Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in economics.


He won an MBA scholarship as a Procter & Gamble Fellow to the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania. When he returned to Manila he worked for the Philippine Investment Management Consultants, Inc. (the PHINMA Group).


In 1976, he flew to Hong Kong to work with the investments bank, Bancom International Ltd., then with the American Express Bank.


In 1981, he founded what would become First Pacific Company Ltd., a Hong Kong-based investment and management company with interests in telecommunications, consumer food products and property. It had an initial capitalization of HK$3 million. Mr. Pangilinan led a group of just six people in a 50-square-meter office. By 2003, the company would have a market capitalization of HK$8.5 billion, annual revenues of more than HK$15 billion, and a workforce of nearly 50,000 people in 50 countries around the world. As CEO and Managing Director, Mr. Pangilinan also holds the position of President Commissioner of P.T. Indofood Sukses Makmur Terbuka, the largest food company in Indonesia.


When the Asian economic crisis hit in 1997, Mr. Pangilinan decided against transferring investments to Europe; instead, he stayed with First Pacific and invested in the ailing Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT).


At that time, PLDT was beset with problems: customers waited years to have a phone line installed; subscribers could not pay; landlines faced extinction due to the rise of mobile phones and the Internet. Mr. Pangilinan reinvented PLDT and within a few years, the company attained a level of net profit that was a record not only for the company but also for the country.


Mr. Pangilinan served as PLDT President and CEO until February 2004, when he became its Chairman. He also sits as Chairman of Smart Communications, Inc., the largest mobile phone operator in the Philippines; Pilipino Telephone Corporation (Piltel), Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, Landco Pacific Corporation, and Maynilad Water Services Corporation (Maynilad).


He recently also became Chairman of the Philex Mining Corporation and the Manila North Tollways Corporation.


Outside the First Pacific Group, Mr. Pangilinan is a Member of the Board of Overseers of The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Ateneo de Manila University, and of the Medical Doctors, Inc. which operates the Makati Medical Center.


Mr. Pangilinan’s social commitment is expressed in his numerous projects and beneficiaries:


He is Chairman of the Hong Kong Bayanihan Trust, a non-stock, non-profit foundation that provides vocational, social and cultural activities for foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong.


He put up the PLDT-Smart Foundation whose programs include disaster risk management, microfinancing and livelihood, leadership training, juvenile rehabilitation, wireless engineering education, scholarships, financial assistance to filmmakers and artists, sports training and development and teacher skills training.


The Foundation also built Gawad Kalinga homes in Quezon Province and Kawal Kalinga homes for ordinary soldiers in Cebu. It has invested heavily in the Smart Schools Program, which makes computer technology and the Internet accessible to teachers and students of public high schools.


Mr. Pangilinan was recently named President of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), a newly formed national sports association for basketball. This year, he also became Chairman of the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP), a governing body of the amateur boxers in the country.


Mr. Pangilinan is Chairman of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), a social action organization made up of the country’s largest corporations; Vice Chairman of the Foundation for Crime Prevention, a private-sector group organized to assist the government in its crime prevention program; Member of the Board of Trustees of Caritas Manila and Radio Veritas Global Broadcasting Systems, Inc.; former Commissioner of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission; and former Governor of the Philippine Stock Exchange.


His awards include: 1983 Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines (TOYM) for International Finance; the 1996 Pamana ng Pilipino Award from the Office of the President of the Philippines; Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa, by the San Beda College (2002); Best CEO in the Philippines by Institutional Investor (2004); CEO of the Year (Philippines) by BizNewsAsia (2004); People of the Year by People Asia Magazine (2004); Distinguished World-Class Businessman Award by the Association of Makati Industries, Inc. (2005); Man of the Year by BizNewsAsia (2005); Management Man of the Year by the Management Association of the Philippines (2005).


In May 2006, Malacañang awarded him the Order of Lakandula, rank of a Komandante, in recognition of his contributions to the country. He was awarded his second Honorary Doctorate in Humanities by the Xavier University in 2007. And in December 2008, BizNewsAsia Magazine awarded him the Business Icon Gold Award "for having greatly contributed to Philippine economy through achievements in business and society."


Date Posted: 03-12-2009