A trail-hiking weekend with Hyundai PH president Ma. Fe Perez Agudo
Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo is recognized in the automotive industry as a game-changer for two reasons: for being the first woman in the Philippines to head a global automotive brand as president and CEO, and for propelling Hyundai Motor to No. 3 in sales.
Agudo led the small pioneer team that started the distribution of Hyundai motor vehicles in the country in 2001. By 2010, in the span of nine years, Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI) was third in total vehicle sales, the first non-Japanese brand to achieve this milestone. HARI locked up the coveted No. 3 title for nine consecutive years until 2019, and still ranks among the Top 10 to this day.
In October 2020, in the last quarter of the first coronavirus year, Agudo took on a new challenge when HARI relaunched a Chinese brand under its wing as Changan Motor PH, Inc. With a track record of almost 20 years in the industry, she is now tasked with building the Changan brand aside from continuing to lead HARI.
With so much to attend to, Agudo, 59, maximizes the opportunities that weekends offer for de-stressing and relaxing.
WITH NATURE. Trail-hiking is her favorite weekend exercise. Before the pandemic restricted travel worldwide, “I used to join the yearly treks organized by the National Geographic,” she says.“Communing with Nature in different parts of the world re-energizes me.” Photos show Agudo on a safari in Tanzania, trail-hiking in England, and on a trek with her daughter at Montblanc.
But now that globetrotting is limited by COVID-19, “I miss that,” Agudo admits. “Weekend getaways now need extra planning, time, and foresight. We have to find out the quarantine status of the place/s that we want to visit, and obtain the documents required. For now, Baguio is the closest I can get to enjoy quiet personal time with Nature.”
Aside from trail-hiking, “I still try to do my strength training workouts, but now through virtual sessions with my trainer,” she says.
WITH FAMILY. Before the pandemic lockdown, Agudo and her family held family sports fests on weekends. “Now, we just do Zoom fests,” she laughs, referring to online extended family get-togethers.
The pre-pandemic weekend sports fests were capped by dining out with family members or simply “hanging out and eating our favorite home-cooked food. Nothing fancy. We have an expert cook to do the job.”
For a time, as part of her fitness regimen, Agudo followed fad diets. “But through the years, I’ve learned to eat healthy and eat the things that I like in moderation.”
Aside from Filipino dishes, she likes Spanish food. “I enjoyed discovering upcoming dining spots in BGC with my family or business colleagues,” she discloses, referring to Bonifacio Global City where the HARI office is located. “Of course, I also enjoy original Korean food. And who can resist tempura and sushi?”
TED-Ed VIDEOS. Working from home more often gives Agudo more time to read and watch TV. “I have been discovering and rediscovering the power of digital media, so I now prefer watching TED videos,” she narrates, referring to TED (technology, entertainment, design) educational talk videos. “Lately, I have been watching ‘The Way We Work’ series. They contain bite-sized thoughts about leading in times of crisis from experts and leaders from all over the world. And I can listen to them while I busy myself with other things at home.”
To keep updated on the country and the world, she watches CNN and Bloomberg. “To unwind,” she reveals, “I like the light Korean novelas like Crash Landing on You, Descendants of the Sun, and Boys Over Flowers.”
All of which goes to show that being an astute CEO, Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo manages her weekends to optimum advantage, balancing fitness, family, fun, and learning in a relaxing fashion.
MAIN photo shows Agudo mountain-trekking in England
Aida Sevilla Mendoza is fascinated by everything about cars: their power, styling, design, technology, craftmanship, exciting history of motor sport through the years, and the ever-evolving industry that creates them. But above all, she enjoys driving, especially on a traffic-free expressway where she feels the connection bonding her and the car.