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Movements: The back story

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Fil C. Sionil

Fil C. Sionil

The buzz going around the market place is what really gives on the changing of the guard in Security Bank and a foreigner taking the helm of the lender with the “semi-retirement” of Alfonso “Yogi” L. Salcedo, Jr.

In its disclosure at the Philippine Stock Exchange Tuesday, Security Bank named Mitsubishi UFJ Financial UFGroup Inc. (MUFG) co-head of Corporate Banking for Asia & Ocenia Sanjiv Vohra to replace Mr. Yogi as president and chief executive officer.

The announcement, actually, was not a surprise as rumors, which at times can be insidious, have been on-going in the banking corridors for some time, beguiling market players, movers, and observers. Even the legendary basketball icon Vince Hizon, whom I had conversations with Wednesday, was curious and inquired about the back story. The situation feels like a déjà vu as the same query was thrown to me, transporting me to a couple of years ago when EastWest President Antonio Moncupa, Jr. moved up as vice chair, with Roberto Reyes succeeding him.

The changing of the guard in Security Bank was described by its chair Albert Villarosa as move “on ensuring the continuity of the overall business strategy formulation and execution.” In both instances – EastWest, and this time, Security Bank – it’s part and parcel of the succession planning. Well said! But the Rottweiler journalist in me tells me as well as Vince that there’s more to it.

The facts: Mr. Yogi, young as he may look, is 64. Just as anybody else, he has come a long way, accomplishing more than enough career-wise as reflected by the numerous recognitions Security Bank received from international award giving bodies in the last four years. Time to move to the next chapter, hand over the daily operations of the lender. The negotiations between the management – chairman Frederick Y. Dy and Mr. Yogi, on one hand, and Mr. Sanjiv, the prospective candidate, commenced in February. This is not to discount that there were three candidates among the executive vice presidents of the bank.

There was a meeting of minds since Mr. Sanjiv was about to tender his resignation effective May 15. Based on what I’ve gathered, the Singapore-based Mr. Sanjiv is acceptable to other shareholders, particularly, MUFG, which owns 20 percent of the bank. He is scheduled to assume effective July 1, 2019, subject to “regulatory approvals.”

Under existing rules, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas requires banks to submit the appointment for “confirmation.” I do acknowledge that he is quite familiar with the domestic market, but, in my recollection, this is the first time a local financial institution will be shepherded by a foreigner. A precedent!

And as for Mr. Yogi in my conversation with him at the Sta. Elena golf course sometime March this year recalled he was a bit green with envy because of my “semi-retired” status. Looking at the expanse of the golf course, he told me: “Life is short,” indicating he was looking forward to more time and flexibility to realize becoming a health buff, attain “six pack abs” and, start kayaking in the waters of Punta Fuego, his comfort weekend getaway.

Talkback to me at sionil731@gmail.com

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