Pepe Costa: The challenges, achievements, and ambitions for FBM in the Philippines

FBM® is the leading casino gaming in the Philippines. The global gaming brand has been solidifying its presence in this Asian market for several years with a team of talented professionals, who allowed the company to spread its video bingos across the country. Coordinating this team effort is Pepe Costa, our Philippines Country Manager recently distinguished as an Outstanding Leader at the Asia Gaming Awards.

With over 13 years of hard work in the FBM Group, Pepe reveals the main challenges and achievements experienced in his journey and unveils his ambitions for FBM in the Philippines in a special interview. Are you curious? Get all the details in the answers below!

1 – How did you start working with FBM? Can you tell us a bit more about the start of this journey?

I have been living in the Philippines since 2007. During that time, I was working for IBM as a Lead Auditor. In 2011 there was an opportunity for me to join FBM to work for our manufacturing plant located in Subic. During the interview with Renato Almeida, our shareholder and Director of the Board, and Fernando Ferrazoli, our CTO today, I was very transparent and informed them that I did not know anything about gaming and manufacturing. They told me “Pepe do not worry about it. We will teach you everything that you need to know to run the factory.” So, I got quite excited about the idea of learning a completely new industry. I believe the learning process has not stopped until today, even after 13 years. And I thank FBM for trusting my potential and helping me develop it even more.

I worked for 5 years as the General Manager of our factory. After that, I was assigned to Manila, again to learn a lot and eventually run the Philippine operations.

2- How do you feel when you see what FBM was when you started working here and the global operation established today with such a strong presence in the Philippines?

FBM has grown a lot in the past 13 years. We grew together with the gaming industry in the Philippines. We have implemented improvements in so many different areas, we are present all over the country and our current operation is quite complex. It feels good to know that, for so many years, our operation was able to contribute to all PAGCOR nation-building projects that ultimately benefit the less fortunate communities in the Philippines. This fact gives a whole new meaning to our work and helps us achieve great things.

Part of the FBM Philippines team gathered on a meeting room for a Sales Analysis meeting.
Part of the FBM Philippines team gathering for a sales meeting.

3 – What were the three main achievements you would highlight while managing the FBM operation in the Philippines?

I believe they were the completion of the ISO9001 certification for two of our corporations, the creation of the FBM Foundation, the establishment of PKIs for field service operations to streamline our efficiency and, lastly, our nationwide marketing efforts. Obviously, these are not my personal achievements. We have a very strong and professional team working day and night for our operations to run smoothly. Our success heavily lays on the shoulders of our team members.

4- What does this “Outstanding Leader” recognition in the Asian Gaming Awards mean to you?

Honestly, I was quite happy with this recognition. I never expected it, of course, but I truly believe that this is a recognition of great teamwork and not only my individual efforts. We have a very strong team in our Philippines operation and our success is built daily by them. My job is very simple. I make sure everybody walks together towards the same goal.

5- What are the main characteristics you believe a leader should have to make his/her team achieve success?

I believe a good leader should be a good listener, too, because good ideas truly come from brainstorming sessions. Aside from that, knowing your team well, knowing their capabilities, their ambitions and helping them grow in their careers is also vital. It is very fulfilling, and I’m happy whenever we can promote employees.

This image shows part of the FBM Philippines team in a meeting about operations performance.
Managing FBM's operation in the Philippines requires constant alignment with teams of talented professionals working in multiple areas.

6 - What were the hardest challenges you faced managing the FBM operation in the Philippines?

I think we are all going to agree on this one, the pandemic was full of hard challenges, especially for operations. When the lockdowns were declared, our entire workforce was placed at home, the bingo venues were shut down, and the income was non-existent. Nevertheless, we were able to maintain the employees’ salaries and we didn’t dismiss anyone.

After the lockdowns, the challenge was to bring everybody back to work due to so many restrictions. Part of the workforce had to work from home because it was impossible to reach the office. In the field service, we had a lot of defective machines due to being not operational for many months. We had issues with our supply chain as they also had their challenges due to the pandemic.

In the post-pandemic, we had to deal with new government restrictions for gaming operations and the stiffer competition of online platforms that arrived in the Philippines. That’s how our FBM Emotion was born, and it has a very promising future.

This image shows Pepe Costa and Alexandre Studart posing next to an FBM casino cabinet displaying the slots game Fight the Fire from the FBM Spin & Win collection.
Pepe Costa, Philippines Country Manager at FBM, posing with Alexandre Studart next to an FBM casino cabinet running Fight the Fire slots game. 

7 – How do you envision the future of FBM in the Philippines? What are your main ambitions for the brand?

FBM is in a very good position to expand its operations in the Philippines. Aside from improving and expanding our eBingo land-based operations, we have competitive products for the online market, the eGames market, and the Casino market. The Gaming industry in the Philippines has a projection to continue increasing and being the second biggest gaming hub in the whole Asia, just behind Macau. And FBM will certainly grow together with the Philippine Industry. There is a lot of work to be done but our team is ready for these challenges.

8- Do you want to leave any special message for the FBM team in the Philippines?

I want to thank all the employees who have nominated me for this Outstanding Leader Award and, of course, all the Gaming Industry peers who voted for me as well. This award really goes to the entire FBM Team. So I want to thank them all not for being behind me, but for walking beside me and helping our corporation achieve success and build such a nice legacy in the Gaming Industry in the Philippines.

Also, allow me to extend our most sincere gratitude to our FBM Teams worldwide who contribute a lot to our success in the Philippines. So for our teams in Brazil, Portugal, Malta, USA, Mexico, Spain, and all other FBM Teams, thank you so much guys for making FBM a top gaming company and a top place to work. You guys are awesome people to work with and you make our working environment a great place to be in. This award is all ours. Congratulations, guys, for a job well done always.

Maraming Salamat po. Muito Obrigado. Thanks a lot.

Cheers to all!

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