Ablaza bags ‘Asia Business Leader of the Year’ award
() - June 4, 2004 - 12:00am
For the first time, a Filipino has joined the ranks of the outstanding and inspiring business leaders that Asia looks up to.

Globe Telecom president and CEO Gerardo Ablaza Jr. was honored in the recently concluded Asia Business Leader Awards 2004 when he was chosen as Asia Business Leader of the Year, the flagship prize of the premier Asian region business leadership awards.

Ablaza also bagged the CEO Choice of the Year in the May 25 to 26 Asia Business Leader Awards 2004 held in Shanghai, China, making him the first CEO in Asia to win two awards.

The Asia Business Leader Awards, presented by leading business and financial information provider CNBC Asia Pacific and global provider of express logistics and mail services TNT Asia, was launched in 2001.

The awards pay tribute to Asia’s outstanding CEOs who have demonstrated superior leadership skills in managing highly successful businesses in their respective countries or in Asia. It showcases outstanding examples of corporate leadership and excellence.

The Asia Business Leader of the Year award is the flagship prize and is given to the candidate who has the ability to retain loyal customers, inspire and motivate his staff, increase his company’s profitability and make his vision for the company a reality.

Ablaza was cited for his leadership qualities that had made a difference in Globe as he was able to turn this into a profitable and fast-growing company amidst the Philippines’ competitive wireless industry.

The CEO’s Choice of the Year, on the other hand, is a peer group award that is chosen through a poll conducted with the top executives throughout Asia.

Heads of companies vote either by email or through the official Asia Business Leader Awards 2004 website for their choice of CEO from among the 20 shortlisted semi-finalists.

Candidates for the Asia Business Leader Awards go through a three-phase judging process. For the first phase, the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, which had a database of just below 6,000 Asian companies, screened all qualifying companies based on financial performance, sales growth and operating margin. It was able to shortlist 52 CEOs of top Asian firms.

The candidate CEO must be the top leader of a company with revenues exceeding $50 million annually and employees numbering more than 150, that is operating in China, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka.

The next step was Chicago GSB with global human resource consulting firm Development Dimensions International conducting face-to-face interviews with the candidates assessing their leadership qualities based on a set of criteria and choosing 20 semi-finalists.

Afterwards, the transcripts were given to the 10-member judge panel consisting of journalists, retired business leaders, CEOs or professionals with Asia experience, Asian corporate strategists, academics, and international management thinkers, who picked out the 10 finalists from where the four winners – Asia Business Leader of the Year, Corporate Citizen of the Year, Innovator of the Year and China CEO of the Year – were chosen.

Ablaza, who became CEO of Globe in April 1998 when the telecom firm only had 150,000 subscribers, was given the Asia Business Leader of the Year award for being able to rapidly expand Globe amidst the competitive field. As of the first quarter of the year, Globe had 9.1 million wireless subscribers.

CNBC Asia Pacific and TNT Asia cited him as a visionary leader for his ability to lead Globe’s more than 4,000 employees and communicate effectively with them. He was also noted for successfully establishing a customer-oriented service culture in the company.

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