Veteran banker voted new PNB chair

- Des Ferriols () - March 23, 2002 - 12:00am
Veteran banker Francisco Dizon has been elected chairman of the Philippine National Bank (PNB) following the resignation of Norberto Nazareno who is still recovering from a quintuple heart by-pass operation.

The bank disclosed yesterday that the PNB board, in its regular meeting held yesterday, elected Dizon after accepting Nazareno’s resignation.

According to PNB corporate secretary Ma. Cecilia Pesayco, Dizon will serve Nazareno’s remaining term of office or until his successor is duly elected and qualified.

This means that Dizon will serve the remaining term of office until PNB holds its annual stockholders’ meeting to elect a new board of directors and officers in May.

Nazareno went on leave early this month to undergo heart surgery.

Aside from being the outgoing PNB chairman, Nazareno is also concurrent chief executive director and president of state-run Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp.

Nazareno sat at the helm of PNB as one of four government representatives to the board of directors, along with Dizon, who was former president of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. and AsianBank; Vicente Panlilio, former chief operating officer of Far East Bank and Trust Co., and Flor Tarriela, a former Citibank N.A. top executive and undersecretary of the Department of Finance.

Currently, the 11-man PNB board has four government representatives, five from the camp of current majority shareholder Lucio Tan and two independent directors representing private shareholders, including President Arroyo’s half-sister Cielo Macapagal Salgado, and Washington Sycip, founder of the accounting giant, Sycip Gorres Velayo & Co.

Still pending is the signing of the controversial memorandum of agreement between the government and the Tan Group, detailing the rehabilitation plan for the beleaguered bank.

Finance Secretary Jose Isidro Camacho said the language of the memorandum was still being polished to incorporate the recommendations made by the Department of Justice, specifically the terminology used for the dacion en pago scheme which was originally called an offsetting arrangement.

The government also plans to increase the number of its nominees or representatives to the board of directors once the MOA has been signed.

Camacho said government nominees to the 11-man board of PNB would be raised to six from the current four. The additional representatives, including one independent director to the PNB board, was part of the concessions made by Tan’s group for government to retake control and have a more direct hand in implementing the recovery plan for the bank.

Under the MOA, the Tan block would bring down its 67-percent controlling share in PNB to 44.98 percent while government will increase its 16.5-percent share to 44.98 percent.

The business plan, including the restructuring plan, however, would have to be approved by the incoming president and chief executive officer, who has yet to be chosen by Tan from a list put together by government.

PNB made earlier projections that it should be able to sell at least P2 billion of its foreclosed properties and further reduce its non-performing loans in the first year of the rehabilitation program.

On the other hand, the new management would have the formidable task of bringing debt-saddled PNB back to profitability and leading the long-delayed reverse privatization plan.

BOARD CECILIA PESAYCO CIELO MACAPAGAL SALGADO CITIBANK N DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE DIZON FAR EAST BANK AND TRUST CO GOVERNMENT NAZARENO PNB
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