Why Ariel Fermin Resigned as President of Max’s Group

Almost two years after Ariel Fermin got promoted from COO to the president of Max’s Group, he tendered his resignation. In this article, we delve into why and who will succeed him.

The food industry in the Philippines is a thriving market—considering how many Filipinos love eating out, getting takeout, or just simply ordering in. In fact, the industry is expected to earn by 7.6% annually until 2028 and have a revenue of around US$131.80 billion (around PHP 7.33 trillion) in 2023 alone.

In the Philippines alone, there are many restaurants, eateries, and food chains—both local and international brands—and among them is Max’s Group Inc. (MGI). With over 675 restaurants across the country, its portfolio includes brands like Max’s Restaurant, Yellow Cab Pizza, Krispy Kreme, Jamba Juice, Teriyaki Boy, Sizzlin’ Steak, Dencio’s, and Pancake House. 

During the height of the pandemic, the restaurant group was led by COO-turned-President Ariel Fermin, whose programs and projects have helped keep it afloat amid the lockdowns and restrictions. But almost two years after his promotion, Fermin tendered his resignation and will be replaced by part-owner and CEO Robert Ramon F. Trota. Here’s why.

Fermin’s Tenure as Company President

Fermin formally announced that he would formally resign as president—effective August 31. When asked about his reasons, the MGI disclosed that it was because of retirement even though Fermin was just 55 years old. Furthermore, the company said that Fermin’s exit was part of “changes to re-align its focus on its customers.”

Back in 2021, Fermin was promoted from being the group COO to MGI President where he was tasked to take charge of the entire company’s performance in the market. He took over this position—which was previously held by Trota. 

His past experiences in the corporate world gave him skills that made him handle MGI well. This included big companies like Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Unilever Foods, and Nike. Aside from that, he also worked for Jollibee Corporation as the President of Greenwich and Chowking before joining MGI. 

During his tenure, MGI’s profits recovered back to their pre-pandemic level, despite how hard other businesses got affected. In fact, their core net surged eight times to PHP 622 million as their systemwide sales across all brands jumped to 40%, totaling up to PHP17.6 billion. 

Official Chairperson Statement

Following said resignation announcement, MGI Chairperson Sharon T. Fuentebella said, “Today’s announcement represents the continuing evolution of the business, relying on strengths we have developed and mastered throughout the years.”

“Our course remains unaltered. The customer will always be at the center of what we do. Robert (Trota) has over 20 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, and together with the Board and Management Team, we will ensure the Company’s goals are executed consistent with our Vision and Mission.”

“​​Finally, I would like to thank Ariel for his innumerable contributions to MGI. He led the Company through one of the most challenging periods of our time. Through his leadership, MGI not only beat the odds during the pandemic but refined the model for our existing business and established new opportunities in a fast-growing food retail category”, she added. 

Management changes usually involve a long transition and an adjustment period as the new leader gets accustomed to the role, but not for MGI, which has already been previously managed by Trota who knows how the business works. Therefore, their employees, as well as their stockholders, will not be faced with major changes that can alter the company’s operations.

With the new shift in power, the business units of Max’s Restaurant, Yellow Cab Pizza Co., Pancake House, Krispy Kreme, Jamba Juice, Teriyaki Boy, Sizzlin’ Steak, Dencio’s, and manufacturing arm, No Bia, Inc. will report to Trota starting August 31, 2023.