Getting to know Carlo Katigbak, the humble President and CEO of ABS-CBN

MANILA, Philippines – ABS-CBN president and CEO Carlo Katigbak earned praise for his calm demeanor and clear answers during a Senate hearing on the network's franchise renewal on Monday. The Kapamilya executive became a trending topic on Twitter as viewers commended his humility as well as calm and clarity in answering all questions asked by the lawmakers through the 6-hour session.

While ABS-CBN was cleared during the hearing by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) of allegations that the network did not pay its taxes, Katigbak did not gloat. He readily apologized to the president for the network’s errors but clarified that they aired most of his ads.

Issue on political ads

A longtime aide of President Rodrigo Duterte, Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, asked Katigbak why the network did not air many of the now-president’s ad during the 2016 elections but the network aired a negative political ad against him, paid for by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

The said negative political advertisement showed children reacting to some of Duterte’s controversial remarks, including his cursing of Pope Francis and the comment/joke he made about the rape-slay of an Australian missionary. Go called this as “black propaganda”

“How did it become a political ad? Are you promoting a candidate here? Or are you destroying a candidate? I just want to know what the priority of the network is. Which is more important for you? Black propaganda or political ads?” Go addressed the media company.

Getting to know Carlo Katigbak, the humble President and CEO of ABS-CBN
Photo credit: ABS-CBN News

In response, Katigbak explained that ads against a person are considered legal election propaganda; thus, the ad was allowed by the network committee. He also clarified that Duterte’s national political advertisements amounting to Php117 million were aired. However, some local ads were not fully accommodated because most slots for local stations are limited to just 2 minutes per hour.

READ: ABS-CBN apologizes to Duterte, denies 'own political agenda'

With all humility, the ABS-CBN President apologized to President Duterte over the network’s failure to air nearly Php7-million worth of ads but clarified that it was able to refund about Php4 million to the President. He calmly explained that there was had been a delay in refunding the remaining Php2.6 million but this was “no longer accepted by the President.”

“We are sorry if we offended the president. That was not the intention of the network. [ABS-CBN] does not and will not have its own political agenda,” Katigbak said.

For this, he earned praise on social media and from ABS-CBN stars who showed their support, too.

“Yong para lang kumakain ng mani sa loob ng public bus at kahit sobrang traffic sa daan!! At Yong lahat mukha ng pressure cooker!! At siya nman uuwi sa bahay na masaya pa rin!! na may baon pang mais. Galing mo CEO Carlo Katigbak !! #AbsCbn #ABSCBNFranchise,” one netizen commented.

“Carlo Katigbak is the man of the hour because of his calmness and professionalism in Senate hearing. Such a man of integrity. πŸ‘πŸ» Sa tingin ko, he’s speaking not as CEO and President of ABS-CBN but as one of the thousands employees of the company. #NoToABSCBNShutDown,” another agreed.

Who is Carlo Katigbak?

As netizens praised the ABS-CBN President, many were also curious about who he is. Carlo Joaquin Tadeo L. Katigbak, born April 20, 1970, was appointed the President and Chief Executive Officer of ABS-CBN in 2015. But he only officially took on this role the following year.

Before becoming ABS-CBN’s big boss, he managed the operations of Sky Cable as VP for Provincial Operations back in 1998. He served as the COO of Sky Cable from 2005 to 2012, becoming its president in 2013.

Then, he served as Managing Director of ABS-CBN Interactive in 1999 and later became Head of Access. He has over 20 years of experience under his belt in both management and communications. His education in Advanced Management Program of Harvard Business School that he had graduated from in 2009 from Ateneo De Manila University prepared him for this busy future.

Getting to know Carlo Katigbak, the humble President and CEO of ABS-CBN
Photo credit: PhilStar

"When Carlo became the president of ABS, I told him I was very happy about it because he reminded me of my dad,” shared Ernie Lopez, president of the company’s Creative Programs, Inc., the son of Geny Lopez who was the former President and chairman of ABS-CBN. “Carlo has both the high IQ of my dad but more importantly, he also has the high EQ of my dad.”

“What people saw in the senate today is the character of a man who is exactly the same way when he is with anybody else. He is not pretending to be humble. He really is that way. He could have had a big office when he became president of ABS and he was offered a much larger office, but he chose to stay in the same modest office he has always had even before he became president.”

Even at work, Katigbak is a humble boss.

“He had no walls. He is absolutely transparent,” Lopez proudly said.

He is also all-praises for Katigbak.

“ABS-CBN is a very different company today than it was 25 years ago. Today, when faced with the possibility of annihilation, the company initiates a prayer walk at 6:30 AM during a time when people are afraid of covid 19, an hourly prayer meeting held in different departments turn by turn, and Carlo faced the Senate of the Republic of the Philippines with humility, honesty, and with calmness,” Lopez declared.

“For me, the biggest accomplishment of Carlo as the CEO and President of ABS-CBN is that under his watch the culture of this company has become spiritual and humbly turns to God for help instead of attacking and retaliating against its opposition. He has inspired ALL the employees of the company and made all of us proud of our company and proud to follow his leadership. He has inspired many in the general public without calling attention to himself, without being self-righteous, or hostile.”

Angel Locsin also attests to Katigbak’s humility.

“Appreciation post for ABS-CBN bosses!” she wrote while sharing some photos. “Happy that Filipinos get to see how humble our ABS-CBN bosses are. Ganyan po talaga sila kahit off cam!”

— Joy Adalia, The Summit Express

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