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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

Jason Feng, Co-Founder of Pillpresso

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Mr. Jason Feng is re-engineering the healthcare industry.

What’s your story?
I am an engineer at heart. I enjoy the process of problem solving and have been actively developing innovative solutions to existing problems. Me and my co-founder settled on the problem of poor medication adherence among the elderly. This was a problem which struck a chord with us because we all have loved ones who have to take multiple medications on a daily basis. The complex medication regimen, coupled with declining cognitive abilities of the elderly tend to exacerbate the lack of medication adherence, which may lead to disease relapse and hospital readmissions, ultimately increasing the burden to caregivers and the society.

What excites you most about your industry?
The problem of medication adherence is not a new one in the healthcare industry. In fact, lack of medication adherence is a well-researched problem in many countries. Solutions which have been developed to address this problem face three major issues:

  • Entrenched mindset within the healthcare system, many of which are used to and unwilling to change from the legacy systems which were implemented decades ago.
  • Complex nuances in healthcare delivery across different countries, making it hard to “copy” and “paste” solutions which have worked well in other areas.
  • Because poor medication adherence is multifactorial, and many solutions focus solely on a few aspects, and do not employ a holistic approach.

Nevertheless, entering this industry at this time excites me because we are in the midst of a global shift in healthcare models; one where the industry is moving away from a service-based model, towards a more value-based model. This shift means that traditional players such as insurance companies and pharmaceuticals are under increasing pressure from patients and payers to demonstrate the value of their products under real-world use. Medication adherence data is one crucial missing link in this puzzle to deliver better care to patients. Being able to build a business around these incumbents and pioneer a new way of care is something which I look forward to.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I am a Singaporean. Most of my experiences throughout my life have been in Asia.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I have not worked in other Asian countries outside of Singapore, so I can’t comment on other Asian countries too much. Singapore has a relatively low barrier for starting a business, and all business rules and regulations are clear and transparent. The startup ecosystem is also rather comprehensive and easily accessible. Being a small country, Singapore has a very limited market for products and services. However, due to its size and efficiency, it serves as an excellent test bed for new ideas. Being a travel hub, travelling to other Asian countries is cheap and easy.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Fail fast, fail often. The greatest lessons are never learnt through success.

Who inspires you?
Elon Musk

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Successful launch of Falcon Heavy and the recovery of the 2 side cores. The way the 2 cores landed was like something you’d only see in CGI. Very well calculated.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Applied for NOC (NUS Overseas College)

How do you unwind?
Go rock climbing.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Nepal. I’m an outdoors guy. Being able to trek around the Himalayas is probably the best form of relaxation for me.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Creative confidence, by the Kelly Brothers

Shameless plug for your business:
Pillpresso is an award-winning health-tech startup that aims to improve medication adherence. We’re developing a medication management system that empowers seniors to manage their medicines independently and deliver proactive healthcare in the community through technology. Comprising individuals with complementary skills across business, engineering and medicine, our team is driven by a desire to improve healthcare and the human condition.

Grand Prize Winner of the 2017 Tech Factor Challenge
https://www.opengovasia.com/articles/8072-top-4-grand-prize-winners-for-3rd-edition-of-ageing-in-place-tech-challenge-announced-in-singapore

Grand Prize Winner of the 2015 Modern Aging
https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/3-teams-receive-s-125-000-of-seed-funding-for-elderly-friendly-i-8246318

How can people connect with you?
[email protected]

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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Callum Connects

Elizabeth Wu, Co-founder & COO of Trehaus

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Elizabeth Wu is making work-life integration a reality for working parents in her new family friendly coworking space.

What’s your story?
I co-founded a coworking space in Singapore that comes complete with a child-friendly facility. We’re the first of our kind here and we’ve been making work-life integration a reality for working parents since we opened.

What excites you most about your industry?
We are the first of our kind, and there’s no other coworking space like us. Sure, there are plenty of coworking spaces in Singapore, but we are the pioneers of championing ‘BYO-kid’ to work by creating a conducive workspace and enriching kids play, all under one roof.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and bred in Singapore. I’m a local through and through.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore, of course! It’s safe, well-regulated and has a diverse community. Barriers to entry for starting up a business is low, and generally there is good support for small to medium enterprises and startups, which is great.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Life is short. Do stuff that matters.” I think I decided to do “stuff that matters” a long time ago and that’s why I became an educator. When motherhood beckoned, I decided again, to do “stuff that matters” by staying home to be with my kids. Then, I began to desire a meaningful career while raising my kids. So, I decided to take the plunge into entrepreneurship, because I am governed by wanting to “do stuff that matters!”

Who inspires you?
So many people inspire me. My members at Trehaus inspire me with the things they do and the changes they make. But if I have to pick someone, it would be Elim Chew, founder of 77th Street; who is a seasoned entrepreneur. She started from humble beginnings, went through setbacks and never said never to new journeys in entrepreneurship. I love that she always looks for ways to give back to society and mentor the next generation with her wealth of wisdom and experiences.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I learned the 5-by-5 rule recently: That is, ‘if it’s not going to matter in 5 years, don’t spend more than 5 minutes being upset by it.’ This helps me puts things in perspective, and I try to remember this every time the urge comes to dwell, to brood, to beat myself up or to sweat the small stuff.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would definitely be more careful with the people I hired to build the team. I’ve learned that it is important to find and build an entrepreneurial team that will plough and work hard alongside the founders. Like Jack Ma once said, “Don’t hire the most qualified candidate. Hire the craziest.” I should have done that right from the start. It would save us so much time and heartache.

How do you unwind?
I take long walks to clear my or I go for a fruitful session of self care, like yoga or a massage.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I really enjoy getting out of Singapore to the outskirts of Bangkok to live amongst the locals. My family of 5 used to do that each December; just taking off to live amongst the locals where street food is aplenty and warmth and hospitality is everywhere. I enjoy their slow pace of life and how simple things can be.

Everyone in business should read this book:
The Hard Thing About Hard Things, by Ben Horowitz

Shameless plug for your business:
Trehaus is Singapore’s first ever family-friendly coworking space that lets you build a career while prioritising family. If it takes a village to raise a child, then Trehaus is the modern village where you will find a robust community and supportive ecosystem that lets you be an involved parent – never missing a single milestone in your child’s early years – and at the same time do efficient and productive work. We’ve made magic happen in what we’ve created!

How can people connect with you?
[email protected]

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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