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Our People

Richard Bates

President & Chief Executive Officer

Richard Bates is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Manulife Philippines. He is also a member of the board of the company. Richard assumed office in August 2019. 

Richard says, “Reinventing the customer experience, understanding how we can truly make a difference in their lives, that’s every day better.

Richard is responsible for the overall strategy and development of Manulife’s business in the Philippines. His remit is to ensure that the company is focused on Manulife’s mission to make customers’ decisions easier and lives better.

Richard is a finance industry veteran, who has a strong background in advancing insurance penetration in emerging markets in Asia. Prior to joining Manulife, he served as CEO of a multinational insurance firm in Cambodia, where he spearheaded the company’s market entry and launched its multi-channel operations. Prior to this posting, Richard was responsible for the Asia operations of a private equity fund focused on investing and incubating insurance start-ups. He also previously led a multinational consulting firm’s deal strategy unit in Hong Kong and its financial services line of business across Asia. Beyond his work in insurance and finance, Richard has also been involved in a charity that supports adults with learning disabilities in Hong Kong.

Richard holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) degree in Business Studies from the University of Portsmouth in England.

Candy Suarez

SVP & Chief Financial Officer

Candy Suarez is the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Manulife Philippines. 

According to Candy, “Every day better is making sure that we are growing at the right pace, ensuring that we have the ability to provide the best service and experience for our customers.”

Since joining the company in August 2017, she has overseen the Finance function including the management of controllership, actuarial, risk, Management Information Systems (MIS), and taxation in addition to providing specialist financial input to the business decision-making process, influencing strategy and optimizing profitability.

Candy has 21 years life insurance industry experience, including 13 years with a multinational company and eight years with a local company. She is a Fellow of the Life Office Management Association and a Fellow of the Actuarial Society of the Philippines, where she served as President in 2016.

Candy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Mathematics with specialization in Actuarial Science and Statistics, Cum Laude, from De La Salle University.

Ariel Magtoto

SVP & Chief Operating Officer

Ariel Magtoto is the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Manulife Philippines.

Every day better is remaining committed in providing superior service and support to our customers, distributors, and employees especially during trying times”, says Ariel.

He joined the company in July 2018 where he provides strategic operational leadership to the company. His scope includes customer service, branch operations, new business, underwriting, customer and policy administration, business quality, corporate services, and information systems.

Ariel has over 20 years of experience in the insurance and banking industries where he held senior leadership roles. Prior to joining Manulife, he helped transform a multinational insurance firm’s Thai operations into an efficient and award-winning service company. 

Ariel holds an MBA degree from Ateneo Graduate School of Business and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Ateneo de Manila University.

Stephen Ong

SVP & Chief Distribution Officer

Stephen Ong is the Senior Vice President and Chief Distribution Officer of Manulife Philippines.

Stephen believes that Every day better is about our advisers giving Manulife customers the best-in-class service, care and attention that they deserve.

He currently leads Manulife Agency, Partnership, and Corporate Solutions, and is responsible for developing and growing these distribution channels.

Stephen has more than two decades of experience in the life insurance industry. He started as an insurance adviser, building an extensive portfolio in sales management. During this time, he was awarded as a consistent Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) qualifier and Agent of the Year for three consecutive years.

Stephen joined Manulife in July 2010 and held various sales executive positions, including as Territory Head, Agency Recruitment Head, Agency Activation Head, and Chief Agency Officer, before assuming his current leadership position.

As the Territory Head of Territory 3 (Metro Manila 3 and Luzon), Stephen’s leadership and capability to meet growth and productivity targets led to his recognition as Manulife Star of Excellence awardee in 2012.  He also won the award for a second time as Chief Agency Officer in 2016. 

Stephen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Santo Tomas.

Melissa Henson

SVP & Chief Marketing Officer

Melissa Henson is the Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Manulife Philippines.

For Melissa, Every day better is creating a unique value proposition by offering relevant products that address our customers’ evolving needs.

Melissa joined Manulife as Chief Marketing Officer for the Philippines in March 2015. Since then, she has taken on an increasing scope of responsibilities, which currently includes brand marketing, advertising, digital, innovation, communications, community investment, events, sales incentives & recognition, customer experience & insights, customer loyalty & engagement, data analytics and product management. 

Prior to joining Manulife, she spent over 10 years in consumer banking, both in the US and the Philippines, where she held leadership roles in customer acquisition and retention, as well as digital banking. 

Melissa holds an MBA degree from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, Cum Laude, from Ateneo De Manila University.

Fritzie Tangkia-Fabricante

SVP & Chief Legal and Compliance Officer

Atty. Fritzie P. Tangkia-Fabricante is the Senior Vice President and Head of Legal and Compliance of Manulife Philippines.

Atty. Fritizie says, “Every day better is fostering a culture of integrity by achieving our goals, while managing risks and assuring compliance.”

As Chief Legal Counsel and Compliance Officer, she advises the company on various legal matters and reasonably ensures its compliance with various regulatory issuances. She also identifies legal and compliance risks and issues relative to the company's intended actions.

Fritzie has been a member of the Philippine bar for nearly 20 years now. Her professional experience includes corporate counseling and commercial practice, including heading the legal services group of a universal bank.

Fritzie completed her law degree at the University of the Philippines and her Political Science degree at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Summa Cum Laude. She placed 9th in the 1999 bar examinations.

Anna Villamor

SVP & Chief Human Resources Officer

Anna is Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer of Manulife Philippines. She joined the company in January 2021.

For Anna, "Every day better is about developing, enabling, and empowering team members to be the best that they can be, so together they thrive in a dynamic and inclusive workplace."

Anna is an experienced HR leader in the finance industry, having joined Manulife from another multinational insurer, where she was the CHRO for five years. Prior to that, she was the head of HR for a large healthcare company and two global banks operating in the Philippines.

Anna has led the organizations she worked with through strategic transformation journeys, supporting their growth and building their skill sets to ensure their workforce are future ready.

Lemuel Dingle

VP & Head of Project Management

Lem is the Vice President and Head of the Project Management Office of Manulife Philippines. He joined the company in March 2016.

For Lemuel, “Every day better is helping every part of the business run smoothly and enabling teams to see how their work contributes to the company’s strategic goals.”

Lem's experience spans two decades in the financial services, telecommunication, business process outsourcing, manufacturing, and consulting. He started his career doing operations work and transitioned to business consulting focused on business process optimization while getting himself involved in some entrepreneurial opportunities. Before being Manulife's PMO Head, he handled various roles as operations manager, executive consultant, project manager, and recently as Vice President and Head of Asia Optimization and Change Management for one of the top global banks.

Lem holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of the Philippines and is a certified Project Management Professional.