This was revealed by three top officials of the MVP group who believed that Al Panlilio was ready to take over when Pangilinan finally decided to end his reign as king of PLDT since the First Pacific Group’s takeover 23 years ago.
The 74-year old Pangilinan believes that his time at PLDT’s helm was nearing its end. “There’s always a time to give up and I think the time is soon. So don’t worry I will keep my word,” said Pangilinan. In 2019, Pangilinan said there was no reason for him to stay if PLDT’s revenues were stable and profits healthy.
The 57-year old Panlilio has been chief revenue officer of PLDT and president of the giant telco’s mobile unit, Smart Communication, since July 2019. Pangilinan said Panlilio’s mandate was to steer PLDT’s digital transformation.
Panlilio was first assigned to PLDT as SVP of its corporate business group in 1999. He later took over the telco’s domestic and international carrier requirements.
He transferred to another Salim-Metro Pacific subsidiary, Meralco, in 2010 where he has been credited for generating “P300 billion worth of revenues, inclusive of P62 billion of distribution revenues; leading 1,700-strong workforce; and spearheading Meralco’s strategic shift towards digitalization and push for customer care innovations.”
Panlilio is also MVP’s point man in his other passion: sports development.
He is an active member of the PBA board of governors, the head of the MVP Sports Foundation, and first vice-president of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC). He replaced Pangilinan when the latter stepped down as president of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) in 2016.
In a speech during a business forum in 2020, the sports-oriented Panlilio said he patterned his management style to NBA superstar Kobe Bryant’s mamba mentality which emphasizes preparation, hard work, and developing new skills to face new challenges and rivals every day.
“Whenever I am asked about our performance, I cannot help but answer the question like an athlete during a post-game interview. I would say: I’m happy we won, but the series isn’t over. There are a lot of things we could do even better. Better teamwork. Better discipline. Better accountability. More inclusion. We need to review the film. We need to see how we can improve. We do what we do to create a future where all of us can win, and we will not stop until we achieve that,” said Panlilio