BIZ BUZZ: Re-Filipinizing Citi | Inquirer Business


For the first time in 35 years, the local franchise of American banking giant Citi has gone back to Filipino hands.

Paul Favila, a 29-year veteran of the foreign bank, was named as new Citi Philippines CEO and country officer, subject to regulatory confirmation. He is filling the post vacated by Aftab Ahmed, who was appointed Citi Taiwan CEO in January.

The last time that Citi Philippines had a Filipino country chief was during the term of the late Rafael Buenaventura, who later on became Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas governor.

Since that time, the country head role of Citi has expanded significantly and Favila is the first Filipino CEO to oversee the institutional businesses as well as the bank’s growing service center operations. To recall, Citi has offloaded its consumer and retail banking businesses, which are now held by Aboitiz-led Union Bank of the Philippines.

If the surname sounds familiar, it’s because banking is in the Favila DNA. He is the son of former Trade Secretary and Monetary Board member Peter Favila (whose term is ending this July), who himself headed several banking institutions such as Philippine National Bank and Security Bank.

Currently, the younger Favila is country treasurer and head of Citi markets, in charge of foreign exchange, rates, commodities and structured solutions businesses in the Philippines. He joined Citi in 1993 as assistant portfolio manager at Citibank Global Asset Management. He then assumed various roles at Citi Markets.

Before taking over the reins of Citibank Manila’s trading business in 2004, he was part of the first batch of the “Citibank Asian Tiger Program,” during which he had spent time in the Singapore hub and Malaysia dealing rooms, before heading back to Manila. He ran the Philippine trading business for 10 years through 2014 and was responsible for the securities services business until 2021.

—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

Alcantara joins UP president’s team

Angelo Jimenez has been sworn in as the 22nd president of the University of the Philippines (UP), succeeding former Securities and Exchange Commission commissioner Danilo Concepcion, and he has named his executive team led by executive vice president Jose Fernando Alcantara.

Alcantara was brought in to infuse the country’s national university with the inputs from the private sector, having served as executive director of the Chamber of Commerce of the Philippine Islands and vice president of the Philippine Stock Exchange, aside from holding executive positions in industries such as shipping, shipbuilding, finance and insurance.

The product of the London School of Economics and University of South Carolina also has his requisite UP stripes.

Alcantara not only earned his Political Science degree from UP Diliman, he also chaired the University Student Council from 1982 to 1983 and was also jailed for two years—1979 to 1981—during the Marcos dictatorship, at the same time as Satur Ocampo, Fidel Agcaoili and former PLDT spokesperson Mon Isberto.

This spirit of activism combined with his 32 years in the private sector makes him a valuable addition to the team of Jimenez, who has vowed to transform UP into a “learner-centered digital university” engaged in scientific, cultural and artistic pedagogy, research and public service.

—Tina Arceo-Dumlao

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