ACEN’s Dizon named 2023 ‘CFO of the Year’

ACEN Corp. Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Maria Corazon Dizon was hailed as this year’s most outstanding finance chief by ING Bank N.V. and the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (Finex).

“As a woman in a leadership position, I hope that this recognition will inspire more women to strive for excellence and aim for leadership roles through perseverance, hard work and dedication,” Dizon said at the 17th ING-Finex CFO of the Year award ceremony on Wednesday evening.

“I wish to express my deepest gratitude to ING and Finex for this most prestigious and once-in-a-lifetime recognition that every CFO was dreaming about,” she added.

Dizon, who is set to retire by year-end, has been instrumental in the growth of the Ayala Group’s energy platform through strategic finance initiatives since joining the team in 2016.

With her behind the company’s financial decisions, ACEN was able to expand its renewables business by more than 70-fold, reaching around 4,500 megawatts of capacity across the Asia-Pacific region.

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“This award is definitely a win for ACEN,” Dizon exclaimed. “In ACEN, we are committed to making a positive impact on the environment and communities we serve.”

Dizon said the first order of business when she joined ACEN was to make the company financially self-sufficient, leading the initiative in introducing ACEN to the United States dollar debt capital markets in 2019.

She noted that this was among their initiatives to help ACEN “fund its growing portfolio of renewable energy projects aligned with its sustainability strategy.”

The awardee underscored that ACEN is not only self-supporting but also a “game changer” in the energy sector.

“Investing in renewables is not just a business strategy but a reflection of our commitment to sustainability,” continued Dizon, who has 35 years of industry experience in the energy and real estate sectors.

“We believe that by investing in renewable energy, we are investing in the future of our planet and the generations to come.”

Following months of searching and build-up, the recognition was conferred on Dizon by the board of judges headed by its chairman, Fr. Roberto Yap, SJ, president of the Ateneo de Manila University.

Joining Yap were Finex President and SGV managing partner Wilson Tan; ING Bank N.V. country manager Jun Palanca; Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chief Karlo Bello; former SEC chaiman Teresita Herbosa; and Lamoiyan Corp. Chief Executive Officer Cecilio Pedro.

Dizon encouraged all aspiring CFOs to be “ready for transformation,” noting that they have the power to foster a “culture of continuous learning, accountability and resilience.”

“A CFO can make a difference in the company by continuously reinventing oneself and making things happen despite challenges,” she said.

“I strongly urge all finance practitioners to find the best version of themselves at every task. Get out of your comfort zones to grow professionally, take the challenge of reinventing yourself when an opportunity arises and wholeheartedly invest in relationships.”

Dizon said her award was a living testament to a journey built with learning, growth and transformation, highlighting that being a part of “ACEN’s phenomenal growth and success has been a profound honor.”

“Cora’s impact goes beyond the numbers,” Eric Francia, ACEN president and CEO, said in a statement. “Cora is a leader with heart and compassion, and has made a difference in the lives of those she has worked with.”

Started in 2006, the ING-Finex CFO of the Year Award is the country’s longest-running and only search that recognizes outstanding finance chief officers.

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