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Island Pacific Supermarket Turns To Defensor As CEO

headshot of Maite Defensor, CEO of Island Pacific Supermarket

Island Pacific Supermarket, a grocery chain specializing in Filipino and Asian products, has appointed Maite Defensor as CEO.

With more than two decades of diverse experience, Defensor brings knowledge and expertise to Island Pacific. Her career spans several industries, including marketing, construction, mining, finance and public service.

Defensor helped establish Island Pacific Global, an initiative that provided labor cost savings by offering back-office support to U.S.-based Island Pacific Supermarkets. The move bolstered the company’s financial performance and supported local industries in the Philippines.

Her tenure as president and CEO of the Philippine National Construction Corp. positioned her as a key figure in one of the island nation’s largest employers in that field. 

Defensor also has experience in public service, having represented the Third District of Quezon City in the House of Representatives. In that role, she was instrumental in filing bills on anti-discrimination at work, focusing on eliminating discriminatory actions based on sex, sexual orientation, age, personality and looks. 

In addition, she championed anti-trust legislation to encourage fair competition and prohibit unfair business practices.

Island Pacific founder Niño Jefferson Lim, who served as the company’s CEO until last year, expressed his gratitude to employees for their support and dedication. 

“I am deeply thankful for the opportunity to have led such a remarkable team. My hope is that the same level of support and collaboration will be extended to Maite Defensor and the new leadership,” Lim said.

He also highlighted the company’s most significant accomplishment. 

“In 2000, there was only one dominant Filipino Supermarket chain, which led to the closure of many small family-owned grocery stores. Against all odds, Island Pacific survived and now our presence has been vital to our community, ensuring competitive prices and better product choices. 

“This impact is particularly evident in areas where our stores are located, often resulting in lower food prices compared to communities without our presence. Our inclusion in Fortune Magazine’s prestigious list of Top 20 Best Large Workplaces in Retail is a testament to our core values, affirming our belief that our team members are our most important assets.”

Matt Ranillo, chairman of the board, welcomed Defensor’s arrival. 

“We are incredibly fortunate to have someone of [her] caliber and experience, whom I have also known for many years, step up to lead Island Pacific Supermarket,” he said. “Her visionary leadership, evident in her successful management of large-scale projects and her innovative approach in various industries, has demonstrated a proven track record of execution. 

“Maite’s unique qualifications, combining her extensive business acumen with her commitment to operational excellence, position her perfectly to drive strategic prioritization within our company. We are confident that under Maite’s guidance, Island Pacific will ascend to new heights of success, continuing to innovate and excel in serving our community.”

Read more independent store news from The Shelby Report.

About the author

Sommer Stockton

Web Editor

Sommer joined The Shelby Report in January 2022 after graduating from Brenau University in Gainesville, GA with a B.A. and M.A. in Communications and Media Studies. Sommer is excited to learn about the grocery industry and share her findings with The Shelby Report's readers!

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