In 2015, FinanceAsia voted Concepcion Industrial Corporation (CIC) as one of the continent’s ‘best companies’. After chatting with its Chairman and CEO, Raul Joseph Concepcion (Jojo), it’s easy to see why. The family-run business was formed in the late 90s and today provides air conditioning, refrigeration, elevators, and escalators, and other major appliances to a host of domestic, SME, and commercial and industrial clients. Based in the Philippines, the company went public in 2013 and prides itself on providing end-to-end solutions for its customers.
Jojo has an extensive career in the industry after being first exposed to it at the age of seven. It was an obvious progression to take over the family operation, but it wasn’t given on a silver platter. Jojo had to work his way up the ranks like everybody else.
The CEO Magazine: What are some of your earliest memories of being involved with the family business?
Jojo: My father and grandfather started Concepcion Industries in 1962 and I remember being taken to the office and taught about the business at the age of seven. We would go there every day after school. At the age of 14, I would work in the factory over the summer. I remember my father gave the managers specific instructions that we weren’t to get any special privileges; that we would work on the floor or out in the heat with everyone else. I learned a lot over those two months, mostly about the value of hard work, which was my father’s intentions. He wanted to teach me about the factory workers and the challenges that they face.
We went and worked on another family business, a prawn farm, in the poorest of the poor provinces about two-and-a-half hours from Manila. This was where my leadership style was born. It was about leading from the front. You get to understand people from their perspective and understand how to motivate them, which was very important. That became the foundation of my leadership today. I never did an MBA. My biggest MBA was managing the prawn farm; that’s where I learned the fundamentals of management. It taught me how to motivate people to work hard and to forecast or try to estimate what would happen in the future. When you are dealing with live animals, it’s better to predict and prevent rather than simply wait for something to happen, at which point all you can do is react.