CEO Tagud Steers Negros Navigation from Sea of Losses to Profitability in 3 Years
In 2004, Sulficio Tagud Jr., then already making a name in business as the guy who turns companies around, took on another colossal task: To resuscitate the floundering Negros Navigation. The shipping company was a basket case when he was named Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
Imposing a tight guard on resources and a practical approach to management that kept employees' welfare paramount, he wrestled with decades' old problems, outlined his priorities and made the employees and stakeholders march to his tune with military precision. In three years, red ink on their fiscal reports turned black.
Negros Navigation was making money once again by 2007 and had been consistently profitable since. The citations given two years in a row by the local internal revenue district announce that NN is the biggest taxpayer in that part of the metropolis. Negros Navigation just figured in one of the speediest exits from economic rehabilitation in recent memory.
The typically quiet Tagud does not trumpet his accomplishments. There is however an obvious glint in the eyes of NN oldtimers who doff their hats at the man who was able to provide the employees their first bonuses in decades. Tagud has restored the company to its former glory and for good measure is still able to give the nation extra service by ferrying soldiers, hosting Anak TV seminars and transporting relief goods.
Negros Navigation's humble beginnings hark back to the era when it was only moving passengers and their sugar cargo to and from Negros and Panay islands. It later evolved into a national inter-island ferry and cargo service.
When the Asian economic crisis walloped business in 1997, Tagud observed a change in the behavior of customers. He was disturbed that Negros Navigation passage department was struggling through a peculiar feast and famine mode of operations, glorying thru only three passenger peak months in a year and grappling through nine months of low passenger volume.
Strangely, however, the cargo section of the business was constant all year round.
Tagud probed the operations. "The era of high fuel prices was one compelling reason for our switch to a more stable source of revenue," he concluded. He checked other liners and saw that shippers could not rely on many of them because of ill-maintained vessels. …