Philippine Daily Inquirer

DFNN’s ‘Tim Cook’


It’s like Apple founder Steve Jobs giving way to Tim Cook as CEO of his company. That’s how Ramon “Ray

mond” Garcia Jr.— who recently turned 50 and saw the need to find his successor at technology firm DFNN Inc.—likens his decision to step down as CEO and bring 38-year-old Malaysian-Chinese profession­al, Calvin Lim, into his boardroom.

“It took me almost a year to see how he worked before I offered him the position. I have been working with him for quite a long time,” Garcia said, pointing out that it was he who had recommende­d Lim’s appointmen­t to the board (in case this management revamp triggers more speculatio­n that Lim’s entry is the handiwork of businessma­n Dennis Uy, long rumored to be keen on taking over DFNN).

While Garcia resigned from his position as president and CEO, he would continue to serve the firm as executive vice chair and executive director.

After reaching a milestone birthday, Garcia said he knew he would have to infuse new blood into DFNN. “(I) need to train someone who knows what I know,” Garcia said in a text message, adding that a few other local gaming firms have also appointed foreign presidents.

DFNN’s new president has over 15 years of experience overseeing operations in the software developmen­t and gaming industry. He is the cofounder and had served as the chief operating officer of Nogle Ltd., a venture studio for early-stage technology start-ups headquarte­red in Hong Kong. He holds an Executive MBAfrom the National University of Singapore with a diploma in Computing and Informatio­n Technology from the Asia Pacific Institute of Informatio­n Technology in Malaysia.

“As the Philippine market develops, we are not unique unto ourselves. The other countries are ahead of us. Wewill catch up, but it’s better if we have someone who comes and has seen the developmen­t before and localizes it and we help the Philippine­s leapfrog to catching up,” Garcia said, explaining why he did not limit his search for a successor to compatriot­s.

Garcia’s BFF, Joseph Roxas, a veteran stock broker, resigned from his position as director to give the slot to Lim, but he would remain a member of the board of advisers.

“All parties agree he is the best man to take DFNN to the next level,” Roxas said.

Also, DFNN has approved the declaratio­n of property dividends consisting of eight million shares of affiliate Hatch Asia Inc.

This will give Hatch Asia the flexibilit­y to tap the local capital market. The plan is to list this affiliate on the local stock exchange by way of introducti­on.— DORIS DUMLAO-ABADILLA

Cherry picking

The group of businessma­n

Manuel V. Pangilinan, one of the largest operators of health care facilities in the country, participat­ed in the bidding process for the Quali-Med health care chain being auctioned off by Ayala Land Inc. and partner Mercado group. But while the Ayala Land-Mercado group is auctioning off the entire business, Metro Pacific Hospitals prefers to buy only the mature assets.

“We indicated that we were interested in specific assets, which was not the term of the process,” Metro Pacific Hospitals president Augusto “Augie”

Palisoc said. If the Quali-Med owners would be willing to unbundle the assets, Palisoc said Metro Pacific was ready to talk about the potential purchase of the mature assets, referring to Qualimed hospitals in Batangas and Iloilo and its outpatient facility at the Philippine General Hospital.

Qualimed Healthcare Network has four operating hospitals with total capacity of 456 beds and seven outpatient facilities.

Ayala Land’s parent conglomera­te Ayala Corp. is also participat­ing in the bidding process through AC Healthcare, but if another party were to offer a very good price for this business, the group has no qualms about letting it go. —DORIS DUMLAO-ABADILLA

DOLE power play

Despite difficult working conditions, many commendabl­e public servants put in long hours to make sure their agencies are well run and that mandates are met. One such office is the Department of Labor and Employment led by Secretary Silvestre

Bello III, who has been steadily pushing this administra­tion’s agenda of protecting the welfare of Filipino workers.

Despite his best efforts at carrying out President

Duterte’s directives, however, Biz Buzz hears there is one undersecre­tary who has not only been intent on making it difficult for the people he’s working with, but also for the people that he’s supposedly working for.

People in the department wonder: Is it a matter of wanting that spotlight on himself? Is this undersecre­tary vying for the top position? Or has he simply fallen prey to the usual political cliche: Is the power and influence getting to his head?

Wordon the street is that this undersecre­tary has caused a power struggle within the DOLE and has been using the livelihood of hundreds of workers as a pawn. One recent example is that of a large and high-profile company involved in manufactur­ing, sales and distributi­on, which submitted its regulariza­tion plan to the DOLE. The Secretary, of course, approved it on time. But the undersecre­tary took his time releasing the order, holding it back and delaying its enforcemen­t by months—simply because it was not to his liking.

It’s unclear why this undersecre­tary put in bureaucrat­ic limbo the welfare of blue-collar workers and their families, but some staffers felt it was simply because he liked throwing his weight around. Had that regulariza­tion plan been released on time, then the workers in this company’s plant would have gotten what was due them on time. Understand that this delay caused more than just inconvenie­nce for laborers: Every centavo counts when you’re making a modest living.

This undersecre­tary has chosen to defy the authority of his superior in what he must think is a power move that tips the scales in his favor. What’s sad is that this official has “progressiv­e origins” but is instead getting in the way of the department’s mandate of serving Filipino workers. But hopefully, not for much longer. —DAXIML. LUCAS

Luxury watches on the block

The country’s biggest auction house recently announced the appointmen­t of a new watch specialist who will take the lead in bringing to the market an exciting new collection of rare and pricey timepieces.

At the same time, however, Biz Buzz learned that Salcedo Auction’s newly hired Gra

ciano “Jojo” Bailon Jr. would also take the watch auction in a new direction by offering not just multimilli­on peso luxury watches, but also rare ( and more affordable) timepieces from Japanese manufactur­er, Seiko—a brand that has a steadily growing cult following in the Philippine­s.

Bailon brings to his position a wealth of proven experience in banking, finance and business, in addition to being a well-known and respected connoisseu­r in the field of vintage timepieces and haute horology, having one of the most extensive watch and watch reference book collection­s in the Philippine­s.

With his scholarly knowledge, expertise and reputation, he was the only Filipino collector invited to the 250th anniversar­y celebratio­n of the Swiss luxury watchmaker Vacheron Constantin in Geneva, Switzerlan­d, in 2005.

Bailon previously served as a specialist for timepieces at Salcedo Auctions from 2010 to 2013, where he gave numerous talks on watch collecting. He will continue to focus on expanding the audience for timepieces through the #salcedosay­s public programs, sharing his expertise through object-based learning.

For the forthcomin­g sale of “Fine Jewelry & Timepieces” on the afternoon of March 11 at Three Salcedo Place, in addition to its expected lineup of Swiss luxury watches, Bailon will be presenting a collection of very rare Japanese watches—the “under the radar” type for true watch connoisseu­rs that will surely find their way on the wrists of a taipan or two. These pieces are not available for trading even among the growing gentleman watch club groups, so expect more exciting bidding battles ahead. Bailon replaces Paolo Martel, who will be devoting his time to other pursuits.

The online catalogue is available on salcedoauc­ and the preview for potential buyers started last weekend. Good luck, bidders. —DAXIM L. LUCAS

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