Continuing decades of family collaboration and commitment, Michael Lhuillier takes over the leadership of the M Lhuillier Financial Services Group of Companies as the new president and CEO. His father Michel, who served the position for over 30 years, made the announcement in December 2016, placing the future of the family-owned pawn brokering, jewelry and remittance chain in the hands of his second son. With Michael’s passion for the business, combined with his leadership skills and remarkable vision, the future does seem bright and promising.
Before stepping into the position in January this year, Michael was the executive vice president of the company for 20 years, and 5 years prior as the chief marketing officer. He shared the responsibility of growing the company, with his older brother Charles A. Lhuillier, who took early retirement in 2016. Armed with experience and invaluable insights, he is comfortable stepping up and leading M Lhuillier to even greater heights.
“We started out as a traditional one-service company, but we have evolved into so much more. We are no longer just that pawn brokering company that we were twenty years ago,” says Michael, proud of how much the family business has grown and diversified. Today, M Lhuillier offers a wide array of financial services and it has become the “Non-Bank Bangko ng masa,” as he likes to put it. “We do collections, disbursements for the government, bills payment, collections and cash distribution for companies that have sale forces running throughout the country. We have a huge domestic money transfer system—person-to-person, person-to-business, business-to-person service, on top of International money transfers, insurance products, and of course the traditional money lending business. I can say that we’ve become a full-scale financial services company.”
M Lhuillier sure has gone a long way, but Michael is excited to take it even farther. “What are we going to be, five, ten years from now? What product mix are we going to have and offer in our branches?” he says. He’s ready to explore new horizons, and recognizing the constant changes in technology, he starts by keeping up with its pace. “We have to be on top of all these changes,” he continues. Seeing as how people and everything else has quickly gone digital, he takes M Lhuillier to that direction with a mobile app that’s set to launch soon. “We are introducing an app which you can use to send money. You load your account and transfer funds, mobile phone to mobile phone. You can do a cash-out from any ML branch, you can pay bills, and you can use it to buy load for your phone,” he explains. “These are simple things but I actually want to do more. I want to give its users more power, I want them to be able to maximize its use.” Michael is bursting with brilliant ideas and he couldn’t be more excited to finally make it happen. “We always seek to improve people’s lives through our services, and that’s why we never stop trying to come up with new innovations.”
The French Connection
Michael continues to keep the family legacy alive, not only by leading the family business to greater heights but also by honoring his French lineage. French Ambassador Thierry Mathou appointed Michael Lhuillier as the new Honorary Consul of France to the Visayas, a title that had been lent to both his father Michel Jones Lhuillier and his grandfather Henry Lhuillier, who was the very first person to hold the position in Cebu.
“The Lhuillier family has played a major role in promoting the French Heritage and Culture in Cebu,” says Mathou. “This gave birth to the Alliance de Francaise Cebu, and with Michael accepting the honorary consul position, we are expecting better developments and advancements both in business and cultural affairs.”
Michael is delighted for the opportunity to help preserve and cultivate France’s relationship to his home country and is excited for all the things he can accomplish in partnership with the French community. “It is an honor to be chosen for this position, especially since it feels very much like another opportunity for me to carry on my family’s legacy. I couldn’t be prouder.”
Michael has barely settled on his new chairs both as the CEO of M Lhuillier Financial Services and as the Honorary Consul of France to the Visayas, but it’s apparent that he will be continuing his family’s legacy in more ways than he could have hoped for, making his father and family proud as he carries the torch into the future.