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Joselito D. Campos Jr., CEO of Del Monte Pacific Ltd

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Joselito D. Campos, Jr., or Butch as he is fondly called by family, friends and colleagues has taken one too many brave strides in his life. The first and pivotal step which set his course into the food and beverage industry was leaving the flourishing family business in pharmaceuticals and embarking on his own. He acquired and consolidated many smaller food companies in the 1990s and turned them into a US$330 million company under NutriAsia Inc. He acquired the Singapore-listed Del Monte Pacific Ltd (DMPL) in 2005. His boldest move was the acquisition of Del Monte in the United States two years ago for US$1.7 billion transforming DMPL into a global company. From a US$500 million turnover, DMPL quadrupled its sales. This took the world by surprise and made Filipinos proud – a Filipino company taking on the world in a milestone deal.

Campos obtained his Business Administration degree from the University of Santa Clara, California and his MBA from Cornell University in New York. He is the eldest son of the late Jose Yao Campos, a Filipino industrialist who founded United Laboratories, Inc. (Unilab) in the Philippines, a leading manufacturer of pharmaceutical products in the Asian region, and larger than the multinationals in the Philippines. Campos worked at Unilab for close to 30 years, and was its Chairman and CEO for five years, helping build its strong leading presence as a major provider of healthcare goods and services in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Vietnam, among others.

Campos later transferred the reigns of Unilab to his sister and set out a new path for himself in food and beverage. NutriAsia started operations in 1991 when Campos acquired the Nelicom brand, a major condiments brand in North Luzon with a small manufacturing factory producing ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce and fish sauce. In the same year, the company merged with more leading household brands like Jufran and Mafran ketchup, Datu Puti, Papa Ketchup, and Mang Tomas Lechon Sauce following

Campos’s vision of offering all the Filipinos’ favourite sauce brands under one roof. 1996 was an important year for the company, with yet another acquisition, this time the number one local ketchup brand, UFC Tamis-Anghang Banana Ketchup.

NutriAsia entered into a joint venture with its first foreign partner, HJ Heinz of the US in 2000. This was a significant development as the company was able to learn new technologies and business processes that influenced the way NutriAsia does business until today. It parted amicably with Heinz in 2006 as Campos acquired Del Monte Pacific Limited, which owns the household brand Del Monte in the Philippines. DMPL was his first listed company acquisition, and DMPL is the first dual-listed company on the Singapore Exchange and the Philippine Stock Exchange.

NutriAsia’s team led by Campos perfectly blends the creativity and aggressiveness of young professionals with the mature wisdom of industry veterans to make up a highly experienced and dynamic management team. Over the years, it has built solid business fundamentals with its distribution, six factories, systems and network. The company’s revenues have already reached over US$300 million with strong cash flows, and its products are exported globally. It employs close to 5,000 people all over the Philippines. In 2014, NutriAsia acquired the leading soy sauce brand and the second leading vinegar brand in the Philippines, Silver Swan.

NutriAsia boasts a portfolio of iconic, market leading brands of condiments, sauces and cooking oil in the Philippines. It is number one with an 87% market share in the local vinegar market through the Datu Puti brand, number one with 86% for soy sauce, 77% for ketchup and 97% for roasted meat or lechon sauce through the Mang Tomas brand. NutriAsia also pioneered and grew the Philippine palm cooking oil market. Its brand, UFC Golden Fiesta, continues to be a category leader in supermarkets in the Philippines.

In a close bidding war in late 2005 with other strong bidders, Campos fought hard to gain ownership of Del Monte Pacific Ltd. Through NutriAsia, he currently controls 67% of DMPL and is the company’s CEO. DMPL is a prized business with 90 years of operations in the Philippines boasting the dominant Del Monte brand. It has leading market shares in canned pineapples and mixed fruits, canned and tetra ready-to-drink juices, tomato ketchup, tomato sauce and spaghetti sauce with 50-90% market shares in most categories.

DMPL still is predominantly a producer and marketer of processed products. Given market trends for healthy eating and high demand for fresh fruits, Campos pushed for the development of the fresh pineapple business. Plantings of the sweeter MD2 pineapple variety were increased in 2009. From its humble beginnings, this business has grown to become a US$60 million business exporting the Philippine brand of sweet pineapples to Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and the Middle East under the S&W brand.

Under Campos’s leadership, DMPL promises health, wellness, superior value and innovation. The beverage portfolio in the Philippines offers juices with Green Coffee Extract and L-Carnitine proven to reduce body fat with diet and exercise; 100% Pineapple Juice HeartSmart with Reducol, a special blend of plant sterols and stanols that help lower bad cholesterol; and 100% Pineapple Juice BoneSmart, a calcium-fortified juice that has twice the level of calcium than a glass of milk, designed to provide the same benefits to lactose-intolerant consumers. DMPL brought the HeartSmart Pineapple Juice into the United Arab Emirates which won the Singapore Business Review Listed Companies Awards 2015 for Best Innovation.

In the US, Del Monte is pushing forward with a full range of non- GMO products and non-BPA packaging. It also launched Fruit in Cups for healthier snacking in the US. In India, Del Monte was one of the first to introduce a range of packaged dried fruits – prunes, cranberries and apricots. Other innovations include Eggless Mayonnaise and flavoured ones like Tandoori Mayo and Mint Mayo.

Camposbelievesthat“twoheadsarebetterthanone.”Hesurrounds himself with a talented management team to drive the company to its next stage of growth. Campos champions corporate governance, transparency and sustainability in DMPL. DMPL has won the prestigious Best Managed Board (Gold) Award twice from the Singapore Corporate Awards. The Del Monte Foundation, under his leadership, supported 375 scholars and served 30,000 patients through mobile clinics in over 40 remote communities around the plantations in the Philippines in the last fiscal year. He leads with kindness and empathy. He cares for his people’s well-being. Campos is also passionate about animals and the environment. He is a National Advisory Council Member of the World Wildlife Fund Philippines and a Director of the Philippines Eagle Society. He is a Trustee of the Philippines-China Business Council and the Philippines Center for Entrepreneurship.

DMPL is now a US$2.3 billion company with 12 factories in the USA, two in Mexico, one in Venezuela and an integrated pineapple operation in the Philippines. It is a large global operation with a loyal following of consumers. Similar to the Vision of DMPL, Campos dreams of “Nourishing Families. Enriching Lives. Every Day.” and will champion his 20,000 colleagues worldwide to realise this vision. “My father once told me, ‘nothing comes easy.’ Growing a business is much like growing an orchard. You need to sow good seeds and nurture them before you can harvest good fruits.”

Callum Connects

Agnes Yee, Legal & Compliance Recruiter of Space Executive

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Agnes Yee started Space Executive in Singapore, which is a hub for businesses in some of the world’s fastest growing economies.

What’s your story?
After graduation, I joined a design media company as a Business Development Executive, during the era when ‘reading a magazine online’ was unheard of. I believe that laid the foundation for being unfazed by rejections.

I fell into recruitment pre-GFC and rode the highs and lows in the early years. A decade later, I decided to set up my own recruitment company, partly because I could. I’m acutely aware of the face that being an Asian female in Singapore is sometimes a privilege, and that many women in the world are living a very different existence.
Thereafter, we joined Space Executive as part of a merger. I am currently the Partner of Space Executive, a recruitment company focused specialist disciplines, including Legal, Finance, Digital, Sales and Marketing and Change. We also run Space Ventures, a venture capital business, which invests in seed and pre-series A businesses.

What excites you most about your industry?
On a daily basis, we’re influencing how one spends a third of their day. It is interesting how the Internet has transformed the industry, and I’m excited to see how we can harness technology to bring us to the next phase of this business.

The VC is an extension of applying our skills and experience in reading people. We very much invest in the people as much as the idea. Being a native Singaporean, it’s been exhilarating watching Southeast Asia becoming a hotbed of ideas; and young entrepreneurs simply daring to dream.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I’m a born and bred Singaporean. I love that I speak both English and Mandarin, grew up playing with Indian friends and eating Malay food.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore for the low barriers of entry to set up a business, but has to be China (and Hong Kong) for their hunger and constant innovation.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
青春不要留白 which translates to ‘Don’t waste your youth.’

Who inspires you?
Anyone who has gone against the grain.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
It wasn’t recent but reading the article on https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/12/the-tail-end.html never fails to blow my mind how little time we have left. Charting our lives in weeks, and realising I only have enough time left to enjoy 60 Christmas turkeys, read 300 books (all if I’m lucky); and mostly, I’m left with the last 5% of the time that I spend in-person with my parents.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I’m cognisant that every decision I made in life has brought me to where I am today, and I wouldn’t change one thing. But I’d really like to have had more time to travel.

How do you unwind?
Exercise and wine.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Trekking any mountain in Asia. It brings us back to the most basic. To overcome elements of nature and our own mind.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Start with Why, Simon Sinek

Shameless plug for your business:
Space Executive started in Singapore, a hub for businesses in some of the world’s fastest growing economies. We assist organisations in accessing a targeted and specialised, and often times transient talent pool.

Out of Singapore, we have recruited across 14 countries; and have embarked on our global expansion plans with offices in Hong Kong and London this year, and US, Japan and Europe in the following years.

Space Ventures provides funding, management and financial guidance to young businesses with original ideas. We have invested in peer to peer lending platforms, credit scoring, social media education, and other start-ups spanning diverse industries. We are always interested in hearing more about new ideas.

How can people connect with you?
https://www.linkedin.com/in/agnesyee/

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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Chrystie Dao-Szabo, Founder of iPayMy

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Chrystie Dao-Szabo founded iPaymy for Business – a secure and easy to use
platform enabling SMEs to pay rent, salaries, invoices, and even corporate tax using the credit cards they already have in their wallet today.

What’s your story?
I’m Chrystie Dao-Szabo, and I’ve worked as an international banker for over 22 years. During that time, I travelled through Asia, Australia and Europe, and everywhere I saw how my clients struggled with managing their finances and keeping cash around.

I wanted to use my experience to help them, but I also knew the solution they needed didn’t exist yet. This pushed me to give up on my secure career, and instead look into the innovative world of FinTech for an answer.

This is how I founded iPaymy – at its launch, a platform to help consumers pay their monthly expenses using their credit cards. We’ve grown a lot since, and today, iPaymy for Business is a platform that allows business owners to use their credit cards to pay for rent, salaries, invoices and taxes, freeing up their cash for business-critical operations.

What excites you most about your industry?
What excites me most about FinTech is it’s culture of constant disruption, thanks to cool and innovative products and services coming out every day.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Vietnam, grew up in Australia and worked in Asia, Europe and Australia. Being raised by traditional Vietnamese parents meant that deep down I was still an Asian at heart, so I have a strong connection with the region.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore of course. It’s easy to do business, English is the main language, and the infrastructures like public transportation are great. Also, the government supports local innovation in multiple ways, like giving grants for SMEs and FinTechs.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Keep giving, and one day you will receive.

Who inspires you?
My parents. My father had a successful business in Vietnam just before the fall of Saigon in 1975. After the war, my father was sent to a re-education camp for three years, which meant my mum had to bring up two young kids – a 3-year-old, me and my 4-year old brother on her own.

In 1980, we all fled Vietnam on a boat and arrived in Sydney, Australia via refugee camps in Indonesia and Singapore. There, my parents had to start over with nothing to their names and only AUD 50 given to them by the Australian government.
They went on to build several businesses in Australia!

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
The number of young and smart people who have carved out successful careers by founding their own startups (or joining really cool ones). When I was starting out my career, doing any of these was not a viable option; it was either working for an accounting firm, an insurance company or a bank.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
If I were starting out my career now, I would choose the path of joining a startup as you get to learn so much about running a business and how to assemble a winning team.

How do you unwind?
I like travelling to a beach or a resort destination and just relaxing by the pool or beach. I also like to unwind after work with a glass of champagne or wine, and a bowl of truffle fries.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Thailand. I love the people and the spicy Thai food.

Everyone in business should read this book:
The E-Myth. It’s a book series that dismantles common myths about entrepreneurship in different industries.

Shameless plug for your business:
With iPaymy for Business, SMEs can pay rent, salaries, invoices, and even corporate tax using the credit cards they already have in their wallet today. SMEs love iPaymy because it works like a credit card, but pays like cash.

iPaymy’s secure and easy to use platform reliably delivers payments to vendors while freeing up cash and providing access to interest free credit. Forget the delays and aggravations that come with traditional SME financing options. Schedule recurring payments, manage invoices, set payment reminders, and monitor payment status all from one dashboard.

It’s never been easier for SMEs to meet monthly payment obligations while keeping cash available to fuel growth, bridge receivable gaps, and make immediate investment in the supplies, services, and expertise needed to drive a growing business forward.

How can people connect with you?
You can find me on LinkedIn or contact me by email.
My LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chrystiedaoszabo/
My email: [email protected]

Twitter handle?
https://twitter.com/ceedeees

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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