Maria Fe Perez-Agudo
A product of an all-girls Catholic school in Manila, believes in the capability of women to climb the corporate ladder even in industries known to be men’s turf. Her own ascent to the top position at the fastest-growing car distributor in the Philippines changed the face of the once male-dominated automotive industry. “I believe in the power of the feminine genius,” the amiable Agudo says, as she encourages women to explore more avenues. “Unleash and maximize that inner power. Choose to seek opportunities, add value, deliver results, and most importantly, love what you’re doing,” she says. Agudo speaks from experience. Married and a mother of two, she is the president and chief executive of Hyundai Asia Resources Inc., the official distributor of Hyundai cars in the Philippines.
St. Scholastica’s alumnus
She finished Bachelor of Science in Commerce, Major in Accounting under a full scholarship at St. Scholastica’s College, an all-girls school run by the Benedictine Sisters in Manila in 1983. Agudo also completed a Leadership Development Program at Wharton School of Business in University of Pennsylvania in 2003. Agudo admits that as a young girl in the 1970s, she never thought she would find herself involved in the automotive industry, especially in the distribution in the Philippines of the now-considered world-leading Korean cars. A real estate professional for over 20 years, Perez-Agudo says a rare opportunity knocked on her door in 2001, requiring a total career shift.
A career shift
“I was already enjoying a career in the real estate industry when an opportunity arose. I was asked to spearhead the selling in the Philippines of this still-unknown Korean car brand,” she says. A decade ago, Hyundai was a Korean car brand looked down in the Philippines and other markets. Things changed, as Hyundai employed the best hands in engineering and the best brains in marketing. “Back in 2001, Hyundai was literally a...