Family legacy, individual merit: Dennis Zamora’s journey to the top, leading Nickel Asia with a fresh approach

Martin Antonio “Dennis” Zamora had to take the long way before joining his father’s firm Nickel Asia Corporation and taking on the role of president.

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Unlike other business empires where the son is the predestined heir, Dennis said that their dad, Manuel B. Zamora, raised them with the mindset that their position in the company is not a sure thing.

“I think my dad at the beginning was not sure if he wanted a member of the family to succeed him. And I’m not sure why? But that’s what he was sort of telling us, the kids, when we were younger. Maybe it was just psychology — it’s like a message to us to survive and work it out on our own,” Dennis said in an interview with Ces Drilon on Usapang Bilyonaryo aired on CNN Philippines Monday.

This was why the younger Zamora had to carve out his own path in the private sector before he joined Nickel Asia.

“I was in the private sector doing banking work so I’ve had the chance to work internationally and here and get exposed to you know how it is to work in a business well it’s not a family business so I think that helped me develop the discipline, to be professional to really test myself and gain confidence in working in general,” Dennis said.

Zamora understands that the industry to which Nickel Asia belongs is a pretty controversial one, especially in the Philippines because of the negative connotations associated with mining. However, as one of the youngest CEOs in the industry, he said he welcomes the challenge of shifting public perspective through the company’s responsible mining practices.

“I think that helped a lot being in an industry that is very driven by data and matrix. It helped me develop a style of leading the company that is based on goal setting, having the right objectives and the right people to achieve those objectives,” the CEO said.

He said that along the way, he made a lot of realizations, especially about the anti-mining sentiment.

“I was not aware that there was a very strong anti-mining sentiment until I actually joined the company because you know my dad is well known in the industry as being one of the pioneers and being one of symbols of responsible mining,” Dennis confided.

He said he harbors no regrets about joining the company and working alongside his father, and learning from senior members of the company as well.

Dennis also said that he is looking forward to clarifying misconceptions about the mining industry and disproving the doubters.

“You know it’s part of the challenge of any role you take in a senior-level position in a large company, there will be challenges. I don’t think I was scared or I regret it at all. And I think it’s actually an honor to be in a company which can answer questions being posed by the doubters, right? So I like being in this position in other words,” he added.

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