Credit card operator Mastercard announced the appointment of Simon Calasanz as its country manager for the Philippines, bringing nearly two decades of local experience in the banking and finance industry to the organization’s local leadership team.
As country manager, Calasanz will focus on accelerating acceptance and usage of digital payments, especially for smaller merchants and businesses, while also expanding on Mastercard’s ongoing digital and financial inclusion initiatives in the country.
Calasanz’s “digital-first” business acumen and two-decades long career in the Philippines payments industry will support Mastercard to double down on work with partners in different industries.
He will also focus on accelerating the uptake of contactless card payments and strengthening Mastercard’s proposition as a multi-rail payments technology company.
“Simon is an invaluable addition to Mastercard’s leadership team in the Philippines. He brings with him unrivalled experience in the Philippines’ finance and banking sector and a wealth of knowledge and strategic insights about the intricacies of the market and consumers. Simon will support Mastercard in doubling down on efforts to build an inclusive and digitalized economy in Philippines, while enabling customers and partners to better prepare for economic recovery and growth,” said Ari Sarker, co-president for Asia Pacific at Mastercard.
Calasanz started his career with HSBC Group where he moved up through the company to positions such as senior vice president for product management in personal financial services. His last position with HSBC was in 2015 as senior vice president and head of sales in the bank’s retail banking and wealth management department.
Calasanz was then appointed to the position of president of RCBC Bankard Services Corporation towards the end of 2015 — a position he held until 2020, when he was promoted to the role of executive vice president, head of consumer lending at RCBC.
He also served as the president of the Credit Card Association of the Philippines from 2010 to 2014 where he championed the development and initiatives of the industry.
Calasanz holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce with a major in marketing management, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, from De La Salle University.
“In my previous positions, I’ve seen first-hand the important contributions that Mastercard has made to the Philippines economy. I look forward to advancing Mastercard’s commitment to creating a digitized interoperable world and introducing new technologies that will allow the Philippines to leapfrog some of the traditional stages of digital payments and become a leader in cashless payments in the region,” said Calasanz.
Calasanz’s appointment comes as Rowell Del Fierro, former country manager, completes his tenure with Mastercard. During his time, Del Fierro took on a range of high impact projects, such as further propelling the adoption of real-time payments with interbank network BancNet, supporting SMEs through fintech partnerships and the commencement of a partnership with Land Bank of the Philippines for contactless transit payments, which will be entering its pilot testing stage soon.
During Del Fierro’s tenure, Mastercard also supported the Philippines’ largest sporting event, the Southeast Asia Games, by creating the official event app and payment card.