Jose Petronio D. Espanol

Strategic Mind Driving Industry Growth

Jose Petronio D. Espanol

CFO/Treasurer/CRO,

Figaro Coffee Group

Do the right things right the first time and doing it right away, and enjoy the process – Jose Petronio D. Español lives and breathes this mantra, infusing it into his strategic approach across industries and roles. As the CFO, Treasurer, and CRO of the Philippines-based Figaro Coffee Group, he brings a wealth of diverse experience honed across a spectrum of esteemed positions. With a career trajectory spanning pivotal roles at Domino’s Pizza Phils, Amex Travel, Transnational Logistics, and more, Jose Petronio has cultivated a holistic understanding of finance, risk assessment, and resource allocation. His journey from being a junior auditor at SyCip Gorres Velayo & Co. to assuming leadership positions across various sectors reflects an evolution marked by expertise and adaptability.
What sets Jose Petronio apart is his ability to meld his expertise in supply chain management, inventory, and finance into a cohesive strategic vision. His multifaceted background propels him beyond conventional finance-focused decisionmaking, enabling him to approach challenges through an organisational lens, emphasising longterm benefits. For instance, his amalgamation of supply chain expertise and inventory management proficiency leads him to explore innovative methods of process consolidation and integration. His approach isn’t confined to mere cost-cutting; it’s about enhancing customer service, experience, and operational efficiency.
His tenure in industries as diverse as cement manufacturing and travel has bestowed upon him unique insights. Jose Petronio leverages lessons from cement manufacturing, maximising by-products and scrap materials to their full potential for cost-saving endeavours. Simultaneously, his time in the travel sector has underscored the importance of balancing self-booking tools with personalised travel consultancy, emphasising customer convenience without compromising service quality.
At Figaro Coffee Group, his cumulative experience isn’t just a resume highlight but a strategic advantage. Jose Petronio’s nuanced perspective, shaped by his varied roles, enables him to approach financial strategies, risk assessments, and resource allocations with a depth that transcends conventional norms. He embodies a mindset that doesn’t just solve problems but anticipates and navigates them with foresight and agility. TradeFlock interviewed this finance leader to learn more about him.

As Chief Risk Officer, how do you handle financial and operational risks in expanding restaurants, coffee shops, and other ventures?

As Chief Risk Officer, I prioritise shielding our expansion for restaurants, coffee shops, and other ventures from financial and operational risks. I emphasise cash, data, and people’s protection as vital pillars. To ensure their safety, I meticulously oversee hardware, software, policies, and controls, backed by comprehensive backups.
Prevention takes precedence in my approach, proactively addressing risks and maintaining continuous monitoring. This proactive stance allows us to swiftly identify emerging threats and act promptly. By prioritising the safety of finances, data, and our team, we fortify our expansion with a resilient risk management framework essential for sustained success.

Apart from Figaro Coffee Group, you also hold leadership roles in a financial institution and a management consultancy. How do you balance multiple roles while ensuring an impact?

Balancing multiple leadership roles across different organisations requires a keen eye to identify commonalities and specific needs within each. Recognising these similarities streamlines actions and amplifies impact across the board. By harnessing synergies between organisations, we simplify processes, magnifying the effect on each entity.
For the unique aspects of each role, applying passion to continuous process improvement and consistently exceeding customer expectations makes the work more enjoyable and meaningful. This dedication ensures that, despite the varied responsibilities, the impact remains significant and worthwhile across all my endeavours.

What legacy do you aim to leave regarding the organisation's future financial stability, growth, and market position?

My goal is simple: to ensure every experience with our products and services leaves a lasting impression of satisfaction, prompting customers to return and recommend us enthusiastically. I aspire to propagate this positive sentiment across Asia and beyond, solidifying our financial stability, fostering growth, and securing a prominent market position.

How do you lead a finance team to excel financially, innovate, and align with broader business goals?

I prioritise cultivating an exceptional finance team through a culture of continuous improvement. We emphasise ongoing selfimprovement to exceed internal and external customer expectations. We encourage a mindset focused on delivering excellence and getting things right the first time. Our collaborative environment champions mutual growth and development, ensuring every team member has the support needed to align with broader business goals.

How do you prioritise financial management, operations, and sales to ensure a cohesive and successful business strategy?

Balancing financial management, operations, and sales hinges on establishing robust reporting and feedback mechanisms supported by sturdy systems, controls, policies, procedures, and guidelines. It requires capable managers and supervisors aligned towards a unified goal of delivering top-notch products and services promptly and at competitive prices.
The key lies in harmonising internal processes with external opportunities and threats the organisation faces daily. This involves aligning with the dynamic competitive landscape, adapting to changes, and staying responsive to customer feedback. Successfully balancing these aspects involves a constant cycle of adopting, adapting, and adjusting without compromising the company’s core mission, vision, and goals. It’s about maintaining a synergy between internal operations and external demands to drive a unified and successful business strategy.

Do you employ any unconventional problem-solving strategies that have proven effective, whether in business or personal life?

Sometimes, being unconventional isn’t always necessary. I’ve found that deeply understanding problems, defining them clearly, and pinpointing their root causes can be highly effective. Visualising the long-term effects aids in tackling problems head-on or at least significantly addressing them, propelling the organisation forward towards its goals. Ultimately, the key, whether conventional or not, lies in a clear definition of the problem at hand.