Transfer seen to affect 200 employees in Cebu
by Aileen Garcia-Yap
Aboitiz Equity Ventures and Aboitiz Power Corp. will transfer their corporate headquarters from Cebu to Manila to better facilitate their growth into a major national company.
Xavier “Txabi” Aboitiz, chief human resource and quality officer, announced the transfer yesterday at the Aboitiz headquarters in barangay Banilad, Cebu City.
Aboitiz said that after many years of discussion, the executives decided to move their headquarters to Manila.
REASON FOR MOVE
“We feel that it is important for us to be where the action is which is in Manila. Over 70 percent of our profits come from businesses in Luzon. We have transformed ourselves from a regional company to a national enterprise, having to transact more with stakeholders based in Luzon. Our main market and customers for electricity are in Luzon,” Aboitiz said.
The transfer is expected to be completed by June 2013.
At present, AEV and Aboitiz Power have about 200 regular employees based in Cebu who will be affected by the decision.
Companies under AEV include Union Bank of the Philippines, City Savings Bank, Pilmico Food Corp., Pilmico Animal Nutrition Corp., AEV Aviation Inc., Cebu Praedia Development Corp., Aboitiz Jebsen Bulk Transport Corp., Aboitiz Jebsen Manpower Solutions Inc. and Jebsen Maritime Inc.
However, Aboitiz and Co., which is the mother corporation, will remain in Cebu.
This includes their real estate company AboitizLand Inc., construction company Aboitiz Construction Group Inc. and Metaphil International, shipbuilding company Tsuneishi Heavy Industries (Cebu) Inc., Seven Seas Resort and Leisure Inc., Aboitiz Jebsen and the firm’s corporate social responsibility group, the Aboitiz Foundation Inc.
The firm would do the transition slowly and carefully, said Aboitiz.
“We’re not in a rush so we’re not going to do this right away and we want to make sure we do it the right way,” Aboitiz said.
Erramon Aboitiz, AEV president and chief executive officer, called the transfer a challenging and difficult decision to make.
He assured that the firm would extend whatever assistance necessary to help employees affected by the relocation that will be completed by June 2013.
Not all 200 employees would be required to move to Manila, he said. Departments handling back office operations such as accounting and IT (information technology) were likely to retain their Cebu office.
“After this announcement, we will push through with the process of finding out what kind of functions will be needed in Manila and what can just be retained here in Cebu, what kind of structure they (team leaders) think is best to be located in Manila, who is willing to relocate and who don’t want to relocate and see where we can move from there,” he said.
Erramon said those who were handling positions that need to move to Manila but aren’t interested to relocate will be given options such as new roles in other Aboitiz businesses.
“We value talents and as much as possible we want to keep all of them. There are also those who are handling positions that are not required in Manila but are interested to go. We can have a swap of positions and other arrangements that we can do for our people,” Aboitiz said.
Erramon described this latest decision as a “tough call” that left most of their employees “shocked.”
“Cebu will always be our heritage and our original home. But as professionals, we sometimes have to make touch calls and do what is best for the business. It is our responsibility to our shareholders as well as to ourselves to do what is necessary for what is best for the Aboitiz Group,” he said.
Aboitiz and Co. is a Filipino-owned management and investment company established 100 years ago starting with their shipping and transport group Aboitiz Transport System.
Last year, Aboitiz decided to sell ATS and their logistics company 2Go to Negros Navigation Company Inc.
The sale was finalized in January this year as part of their direction to become the biggest player in the energy industry through Aboitiz Power Corp.