Even in a sluggish Philippine economy, RFM Corp. CEO Jose A. Concepcion III demands growth. He has introduced successful new Selecta ice cream flavors--such as Ube Leche Flan, milk custard mixed with a purple tuber--and added bright colors to packaging. But new products aren't his only strong suit. The baby-faced "Joey" is using the Asia crisis to his advantage, driving his managers hard to earn an extra peso or save one. "This crisis has forced managers to look at areas they've never looked at before," he says. RFM's first-quarter profits rose 27%, to $7 million.
Concepcion, 40, has been under pressure to demonstrate his entrepreneurial skills. Many questioned his abilities when he took over from his father in 1987. "During the early years, I wanted to prove myself," he says. He has, and then some.