Keynote Speakers

Peter Wallace

Founder and Chairman, The Wallace Business Forum

Peter’s reputation as one of the leading voices of the Philippine business community began in 1975, when he was assigned to the country to establish a factory manufacturing maintenance products. He later led conglomerate Columbian Philippines, and trading company Getz Corporation, before setting off on his own to establish the Wallace Business Forum in 1982. He has worked with consecutive Philippine presidents on policies pertaining to foreign investment and competitive business environment, and was granted Philippine citizenship in 2015. He is honorary chairman of the Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, director of the Management Association of the Philippines, and a regular columnist for the Philippine Daily Inquirer.


Usec. Ruth Castelo

Department of Trade and Industry

Ruth has been a practicing lawyer since 1994, initially working as a City Attorney before moving into private practice, arguing before all court levels in the country. She later worked as a consultant for the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Metro Manila Development Authority, where she honed her expertise on government infrastructure and construction projects. She was then named a Construction Arbitrator for the Construction Industry Arbitration Commission. In 2016 she was appointed as undersecretary of the Department of Trade and Industry, overseeing efforts to enhance the country’s competitiveness and business environment, including the implementation of the National Logistics Master Plan and other connectivity initiatives.


Usec. Ma. Catalina Cabral

Department of Public Works and Highways

As undersecretary for planning and PPPs, Cathy leads the Department of Public Works and Highway’s strategic and developmental planning for its flagship infrastructure projects, as well as projects under the government’s Public Private Partnership program. She is the first female rank-and-file employee to be named undersecretary at the department; she is also the first female president of the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers, a position she currently holds. A graduate of the Holy Trinity Academy, she later took further studies at the Lyceum of the Philippines, the University of Asia and the Pacific and the Manuel L. Quezon University, through which she received her doctorates in business management and public administration.


Session Speakers

Antonio Rivera III

Senior Vice President for Global Supply Chain, Mead Johnson Nutrition

After graduating from the University of the Philippines, Tonet worked various supply chain roles for such as San Miguel, Colgate-Palmolive and Avon, and also had a stint with Citibank. He joined Mead Johnson Nutrition in 2002, initially heading supply chain operations for the Philippines, before being given responsibility for Asian and European supply chain in 2007, and later, assuming his current position as senior vice president for global supply chain – where he is in charge of sixteen manufacturing sites producing over USD 2 billion in goods. A lifelong flying enthusiast, he is also a private pilot and aircraft owner.


Dickson Ho

Principal Economist, Asian and Emerging Markets Research Team, Hong Kong Trade Development Council

Dickson leads the Asian and Emerging Markets Research Team of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, a statutory body dedicated to promoting trade in Hong Kong. In particular he leads a team of researchers on market and consumer trends affecting economies in east and south Asia, Africa and the Middle East, as well as developments affecting Hong Kong’s important service industries, including logistics and finance. As part of his work, he has looked into the impact of the Belt and Road Initiative on Hong Kong’s industries, as well as opportunities in countries such as India, Myanmar and Iran.


Felino Palafox Jr.

Chief Architect/Urban Planner and Founding Partner, Palafox Associates

With 45 years of experience, Jun is one of the country’s renowned architects and urban planners. He is a fellow of the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat based in Chicago, a fellow of the United Architects of the Philippines, and the chairman of the National Real Estate Association. After working with the Department of Public Works and Highways and later working on several planning projects in Manila and Dubai, he established his own practice, Palafox Associates, in 1989; it is now responsible for projects in 39 countries in Asia, the Middle East and North America. He was educated at the University of Santo Tomas, University of the Philippines and Harvard University, and was recently awarded a honorary doctorate by the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.


Irwin Lee

Chief Executive Officer, Rustan Supercenters Inc.

Irwin began his career with Procter & Gamble, starting from its Philippine offices before working in its Indonesia, Japan and China offices. He later became managing director for P&G in China and the UK, and ultimately was regional CEO for its northern Europe operations. After a stint at McKinsey, he was a board director at the British supermarket chain Morrisons. He returned to the Philippines in 2016 to become CEO of Rustan Supercenters. He graduated from the De La Salle University and later attended the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain.


James Michael Lafferty

Chief Executive Officer, British American Tobacco Philippines Ltd

James is one of the world’s leading experts in business building, marketing and branding. He spent 24 years at Procter & Gamble, holding various roles in its operations across Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia, including a stint overseeing the manufacturer’s operations in the Philippines. He later headed operations for Coca-Coca in Nigeria, and later for British American Tobacco in the Philippines, a position he continues to hold. He also has a career as a professional athletics coach, working with athletes in Germany, France, Nigeria, the Philippines and his native United States.


Josemari Danga

Business Development Manager, SSI Schaefer Systems Philippines Inc.

As business development manager for SSI Schaefer’s Philippine offices, JM leads efforts to promote warehouse and logistics automation in the country. A graduate of the De La Salle University Manila – where he specialized in robotics and mechatronics – he has worked for the food manufacturing and information technology sectors, focusing on supply chain, before joining SSI Schaefer.


Kenneth Lingan

Country Manager, Google Philippines

Ken has over sixteen years of experience in marketing and brand development. Prior to joining Google, he was with Unilever, holding various marketing role for the company’s operations in Asia and the Middle East, most recently as regional vice president for deodorant and grooming products in Southeast Asia. In 2014 he was named head of Google’s Philippine operations, taking charge of the online giant’s advertising business, particularly with sectors such as telecommunications, travel and e-commerce. He graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University.


Luca Fichera

Supply Chain Director, Nestlé Philippines

Luca joined Nestlé in 1997, initially working from its offices in Milan, and later working across Europe, Asia and Oceania. In 2010, he was named the company’s supply chain director for its regional operations in South Asia, overseeing planning, sourcing and distribution for India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, an operation that covers eight factories and 27 distribution centers. There he also led a local joint venture specializing in fresh milk collection. He was named supply chain director for Nestlé Philippines in 2016. He graduated from Bocconi University in Milan.


Maureen Ledesma

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Vesl Trade Finance

Mau is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Vesl Trade Finance, a start-up company providing a new platform for trade credit insurance to companies around the world. Founded just in 2017, the company is the only Philippine start-up to have gotten through the prestigious Startupbootcamp Fintech accelerator in Singapore. Born into a family of sugar planters and traders, she previously worked in various banking roles, and later structured trade finance deals for the London-based Czarnikow Group. She graduated from the De La Salle University in Manila, and later finished her master’s degree in financial management from the Vlerick Business School in Brussels.


Michael Kurt Raeuber

Group Chief Executive Officer, Royal Cargo Inc.

Michael is the group chief executive officer of Royal Cargo Inc., a conglomerate specializing in logistics and transportation services, founded in the Philippines and operating in ten countries worldwide. He was president of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines from 2012 to 2015, and is currently co-vice chairman of the Integrity Initiative and the committee chair for infrastructure and transportation of the EU-Philippines Business Network. He began his career with German logistics company Hermann Ludwig, whose Philippine office evolved into Royal Cargo in 1975, a company which he has overseen since (save for a stint as head of DHL Danzas).


Patricia Anna Cambel

One J&J Supply Chain Director, Johnson & Johnson

After working with Toyota and Ayala Land, Trixie joined Johnson & Johnson, first as an industrial engineer before taking various supply chain roles for the multinational’s Philippine operations. After stints in their Singapore and Thailand offices, she returned to the Philippines, where she currently heads the company’s supply chain operations for the entire Asia Pacific region. She graduated from the University of the Philippines and later attended the Asian Institute of Management and Smith College in Northampton, MA.


Ramon Segismundo

President, People Management Association of the Philippines

Mon has over thirty years of experience as a human resource executive across the globe, with stints for companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and SGV. He joined Meralco in 2010 as becoming senior vice president for human resources and corporate services, where he led the company to being named Employer of the Year by the People Management Association of the Philippines in 2012 and 2013. He was also named as the organization’s People Manager of the Year in 2014. A graduate of the University of the Philippines, he also formerly served as the chairman of the Philippine Basketball Association during the 2013-2014 season.


Richard Barclay

Chief Executive Officer, Manila North Harbour Port Inc.

Richard has over four decades of experience in the maritime and port management sector. After working for Australia National Line, most recently as director of operations, he moved to the Philippines in 1991 to lead Asian Terminals Inc. He then worked for P&O Ports, overseeing terminals across east Asia, and later lead the consultancy firm International Gateways and Port Management Services. He assumed his current role with Manila North Harbour Port Inc. in 2011. He was also president of the Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce Philippines from 2002 to 2010.


Suzie Mitchell

Country Managing Director, DHL Supply Chain Philippines

Suzie has over fifteen years of experience working in logistics and industrial design. In her career across the Asia Pacific as well in her native Australia, she held roles in technology and engineering multinational companies, focusing on account management and business development. She later shifted to logistics, working for Caterpillar and Microsoft, before joining DHL Supply Chain as vice president for business development, in charge of the automotive, engineering, energy and chemical sectors. She assumed her current role as head of DHL Supply Chain in the Philippines in 2012. She graduated from Monash University in Melbourne with an honors degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in international business management.


Dr. Thomas Aquino

Chairman, REID Foundation

Thomas is a senior fellow at the University of Asia and the Pacific’s Center for Research and Communication, specializing in economic policy. He is also chairman of the REID Foundation. As senior undersecretary for the Department of Trade and Industry, he managed international trade promotions and led trade negotiations, notably acting as lead negotiator for the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement, which was signed in 2006. He was awarded the Gawad Mabini, rank of Grand Cross, by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2010. A graduate of the University of the Philippines, he received his doctorate from the University of Navarra’s IESE Business School in Pamplona, Spain.