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Petron Corporation’s Julius Villegas: Dealing with Crossroads Part II

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First, he was with the DMMC Institute of Health Sciences for a year as Chief Accountant. At the school, he was primarily responsible for controlling and managing financial affairs in the absence of the CEO/Owner.

Next, in a crossroads of the sort that many Filipinos encounter across the nation, Julius availed of an opportunity to work for a construction company in Qatar as an OFW. It was an experience that Julius says was ultimately unforgettable – but for all the wrong reasons!

“My stint in Qatar was financially rewarding but professionally disappointing,” he says. “The subsidiary of the company that hired me to which I was assigned was not granted a permit to operate by the Qatari government. I should have insisted on going home; but the CEO asked me to work for another subsidiary.”

Julius did; and lived to regret it! “My primary task was to manage the financial affairs of the company,” he explains. But in the subsidiary, he came into knowledge of matters that challenged his sense of what was right and wrong. “I did not want to get caught in the middle of what could be a legal and adverse battle. I was very afraid that I could get implicated even though I had nothing to do with any of it.”

So, he left the company and went back home to the Philippines. God does indeed watch over the righteous, however. As fate would have it, Julius would find himself right back at Petron.

“My return to Petron was serendipitous,” he says. “On my way to visit my godmother, who was still employed by Petron, I met the VP for Corporate Planning at the elevator. I was offered a job right away after the VP learned that I was looking for work at that time.”

Presently, Julius is full-time Business Planning Analyst of Petron. His department reports directly to the company’s Chief Financial Officer. He is part of a team that regularly issues financial forecasts and handles corporate and capital budgeting.

On an individual capacity, Julius is responsible for setting corporate key performance targets and the valuation of the company’s cost of capital. “Just recently, I was assigned to design and develop the financial models of Petron’s new subsidiaries in Malaysia,” he relates. “Last April, Petron successfully completed the acquisition of three oil companies in Malaysia formerly owned by Exxon-Mobil Global.”

Julius is happy at Petron. He says that the company is an excellent employer and that is why he had no qualms about rejoining it when the opportunity arose. The second time around, he has been given the chance to prove himself; and he considers his work for Petron Malaysia particularly satisfying professionally.

“I was my first time to be part of and lead a professional assignment of that scale,” Julius says. “Just the experience of dealing with foreign executives and eventually making recommendations to them and influencing them about what to do was very gratifying.”

Of the oil industry itself, Julius thinks that the greatest challenge facing it is the dwindling global supply. “Although a lot of new oil wells have been discovered and a lot of them will still be discovered, the fact still remains that oil is not available forever,” he says. “The marginal cost of producing oil is now at historic highs of around $70 to $80 per barrel. That means the era of cheap oil is over!”

He goes on, “Oil production has entered very complex economics. Factor in the fast rising world population and the picture gets more complicated. Politicians and even religious leaders are not paying attention. What makes it scary is the fact that ordinary citizens do not understand the reality that cheap oil is over. Dramatic improvements on the technology of renewable energy must be made before it is too late.”

Away from work, Julius is very much the family man. He is married to the former Anabelle Mendoza, who he met in Makati on his way to the Petron Office. “She is a very loving and supportive wife,” he says of his better half.

The couple has four children. Julianne Rayne, the eldest, is 10. Jan Raynier and Jana Rayne are 9- and 8-years old, respectively. Juan Miguel, the youngest, is seven.

When he gets free time, Julius says that his family is always the first priority. In fact, he makes the sacrifice of commuting from Tanauan to Ortigas everyday just so he can enjoy meals with his wife and kids.

Apart from this, Julius says that his ultimate goal in life is to secure his family’s future. For his kids, he wants them to have the best education because he thinks education is the best legacy that parents can give their children.

For Julius, there is also the occasional movie to enjoy. He is a fan of the historical genre and enjoys movies such as Braveheart; hardly surprising because the Mel Gibson classic was the big hit at around the time that he was graduating from high school. He also loves the World War II documentaries that they run on NGC and the Discovery Channel every now and again.

Still a month short of his 34th birthday, Julius is still right in the middle of the climb up the corporate world. There have been challenges; and he is candid enough to admit these. “My corporate career was marred by bad decisions during its early years,” he says. “I learned from my mistakes the hard way; and I hope I won’t be repeating them.”

Quality does indeed shine through, in the end; and I for one, will be interested to know what he makes of himself. Being a CPA board topnotcher, after all, does not just sort of happen. Julius has had a colourful career; and the road has had its twists and turns. In the end, every crossroads ultimately turns out to be just part of the learning curve.

Just how he looks at crossroads, Julius himself sums up in Tagalog at that: “Simple at masayahin akong tao. Mababaw kaligayahan ko. Mabait ako at gusto ko ganun din ang isuklî sa akin. Ayoko sa lahat ‘yung inaabuso ang kabaitan ko. Madalas akong mapagbigay pero ‘pag umayaw ako, walang basta makakapigil sa desisyon ko na ayaw ko na.”

(I am a simple and happy person; and it takes little to make me happy. I am a good person and I would like for others to likewise be good to me. What I detest most is for others to abuse my goodness towards them. I am frequently considerate; but when I turn my back on something, it will take some doing to make me change my mind.)

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