Iris Gonzales – The Philippine Star
October 27, 2021 | 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — Four Philippine companies made it to the top 10 companies in the world led by women CEOs and with the highest percentage of women executive officers, according to US-based Corporate Women Directors International (CWDI).
These are the SSI Group (80 percent), Victorias Milling Co. (60 percent) and the Filinvest Group and Gokongwei-led Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc. or RRHI (both with 50 percent).
The SSI Group, the listed luxury company of the Tantocos, is led by Zenaida Tantoco as chairman and CEO while Victorias Milling is led by Minnie Chua as president and CEO.
The Filinvest conglomerate was co-founded by Mercedes Gotianun, who also holds the distinction of being the first woman universal bank president in the Philippines, while her only daughter Josephine Gotianun-Yap currently serves as president and CEO of Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI), the group’s real estate development arm.
RRHI is led by Robina Gokongwei as president and CEO. She is the eldest daughter of the late tycoon John Gokongwei who founded the Gokongwei business empire.
CWDI is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, which surveyed nearly 3,000 companies in 55 countries to generate baseline data on women in leadership roles.
In its 2021 report, “Women CEOs: Opening Doors to Boards and C-Suites,” CWDI ranked the top 10 women-led global firms with the highest percentages of women in the board of directors.
Among the largest publicly listed companies in 55 countries examined in the report, only 143 out of 2,994 companies have a woman CEO.
“This paltry number accounts for only 4.8 percent of these companies in the world’s biggest economies. The top leadership role in the most influential companies globally overwhelmingly remains the domain of men,” the report said.
In a statement, FLI said its newly listed real estate investment trust company, Filinvest REIT Corp., also has a woman at the helm – president and CEO Maricel Brion-Lirio, who also serves in the FILRT board of directors with five other women and four men.
In all, gender equality is also a common denominator across the Filinvest Group.
Holding firm Filinvest Development Corp. has 55 percent women while in FLI, 60 percent are women and in Filinvest Alabang Inc., 71 percent.
“The Philippines is known for being among the ‘gender equal’ countries in the region and this is also evident in the real estate sector, where female executives have long played a crucial role in defining the landscape,” said Brion-Lirio.
CWDI’s Natividad said that while it is well-known through dozens of studies that women-led companies have positive impact on a company’s bottom line and are good for workers, customers, and shareholders, there are still a lot of companies that are not placing more women in CEO roles.
“Clearly, companies need to proactively commit to speeding up the pipeline of women corporate leaders to achieve future growth,” Natividad.
The CWDI report also revealed that companies with a woman CEO tend to have more women board directors or 34.1 percent women-held board seats compared to 23.3 percent for companies with a male CEO and that the percentage of women board directors increased following the appointment of a woman CEO.