Monday, August 22, 2016


As one of the most prominent businessmen of our time, Mr. Wilfred Steven Uytengsu Jr. surely took the members of Anvil Business Club in attendance through a very insightful journey on how he made a difference in Alaska Milk Corporation (AMC). His topic was not limited to just business and sports and how these two can be integrated, but also touched on ethics, succession, and even gave good humor on how to choose the right spouse.

The exchange forum started out with the story of when Mr. Uytengsu Jr. went to the United States for his secondary education and took up his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, specializing in Entrepreneurship, in the University of Southern California (USC). Fueled by his passion and dedication to the sports of swimming, he became the team captain of the university on his third year. According to Wilfred, “I would rather be a small fish in a big pond,” and “if you want something bad enough, work for it and be the best, or else do not even try.”
He wanted to be in a very competitive environment where he could face off with the best swimmers to continue improving in his chosen sport. Wilfred mentioned that studying abroad made a huge impact in his life because it pushed him to grow up and establish his independence. As he puts it, “No one knows you there, no one cares who you are, and you have to do your own laundry.”
After graduating from USC, Wilfred came back to the Philippines and joined his father in the family business. One thing that he immediately noticed upon joining is the importance of identifying where the fine line between family and business stands. And regardless of working in a family business setting, the culture of work ethic and the idea that no one is entitled should exist. . As he recollects, there were moments when he did not know whether he was talking to his father or the chairman of the company. One of the most impactful words that he had heard from his father were “you will never understand me because you never started your own business.” These words hit him hard and eventually got him to start his own business, GenOSI, the exclusive food processor supplying to major global and local restaurant chains. Backed by his father’s words and his own experience, he’s led Alaska Milk Corporation through the toughest times and made business decisions that eventually brought the company to where it is today. True to its slogan, “Wala pa ring tatalo sa Alaska”, the brand continues to be a part of every Filipino household and is consumed by both young and old.

Sports marketing is considered a non-traditional way of marketing for most Filipino companies. Alaska Milk Corporation was one of the pioneers of this strategy, which has successfully brought its brand closer to its consumers. It was the brainchild of Wilfred Sr. to franchise a basketball team and let his son study and handle this project. Wilfred Uytengsu Jr. turned this wild idea into a reality, thus the Alaska Aces was born and went on to become one of the most popular and successful teams in the PBA. After several seasons and championships, the sports marketing strategy proved to be successful in planting a deep root of loyalty and love for Alaska in the heart of Filipino people. Furthermore, Uytengsu Jr.’s love for sports extends beyond his duty as the president and CEO of AMC. He has successfully brought in the ‘Iron Man’, triathlon competition, to the Philippines, which immediately won the hearts of the Filipinos and has put our country on the map of the triathlon universe.
As the night progressed, the exchange of intellectual ideas went on when the Anvil directors and regents asked Wilfred about his thoughts about globalization.

For him, globalization is inevitable and it is normal that there will always be someone out there to compete with. Driven by his rule, which is, “you better be the best in whatever you do,” Wilfred always seeks to be the best. One of the key themes of his talk has been the value of work ethic and he even goes on to share that, “Being lucky without hard work will not bring success,” Wilfred always stressed out how the value of work ethic, hard work, and proper sense of entitlement make a huge difference when competing with other companies. Moreover, it is with proper execution and follow through that will help the business secure the success it is aiming for.

Ultimately, Wilfred ended the exchange forum with his thoughts on succession planning. According to his observation and experience, it is the established rules and guiding principles of a family code that will dictate if the business will be able to survive from one generation to another. It is natural that the family will keep on growing and more people, including in-laws, will be involved in the business. To him, family code solves conflicts and keeps everyone in harmony similar to how the Aboitiz family reached its 6th generation and is still a family run business.

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