Aha!!! This was Frankie’s trademark exclamation to prove a point, attract attention, or as a prelude to one of his witty comments or jokes. This was always delivered in a high-pitched tone with an accompanying waggle of his index finger and, depending on his intention, either a grin or a stern expression.
I came to know Frankie in 2015 when I joined AIM as the dean of the institute. I knew right away that my colleagues held him in high regard. Aside from holding a DBA from Harvard Business School, Frankie was a much sought-after speaker, consultant, and mentor From the World Bank to the Asian Eye Institute to the Ford Foundation and many more, Frankie’s many disparate engagements both here and abroad demonstrate his broad range of expertise and grasp of complex issues.
When I came to AIM, one of my priorities was to strengthen the institute’s research profile and outputs. I intended to get our faculty to publish as many high-quality peer-reviewed papers as possible to put AIM back on the map for its intellectual capacity and knowledge base. Frankie, as the head of the Research and Publications Office,was my perfect partner. Not only was he a prolific writer, editor, and mentor, but he was also well-published on the subjects of strategy, marketing and organization, agribusiness, entrepreneurship and family firms, and corporate social responsibility and governance. In all, he contributed to or co-authored seven books and completed over 570 cases and notes, with some of these cases being published by Harvard Business School Publishing.
In the years when Frankie headed the Research and Publications Office (RPO), he focused on increasing the faculty’s research output by fostering a research environment at AIM. He led RPO until his retirement in 2017, successfully increasing the number of faculty publications and crafting relevant research policies to create aconducive research environment.
To his staff, he was a strict boss and an absolute stickler for meeting deadlines. He did not suffer sloppy or incomplete work, always demanding perfection and meeting deadlines. He would often explode when either of these were unmet. Knowing this, many of his colleagues would be on the ready to calm him down to defuse the tension. I even heard that he had the most wonderful way of immediately mending the relationship with whoever was the unfortunate target of his explosion. He had Thelma prepare home-cooked food to bring as a peace offering, or if need be, propose a treat to a fancy restaurant of his choice.
As tough as he was on the staff, he was also very protective of them, shielding them from unnecessary distractions and constantly on the lookout for opportunities to move them up the corporate hierarchy.He also empowered them to speak their minds without fear and to make decisions on their own. He aspired to transform them to become researchers, and, sometimes, he made this happen with several of the staff becoming co-authors of cases.
We will all terribly miss Frankie. To Thelma, Robi, and Rica, friends, and colleagues, I offer my deepest condolences. Know that you will be in my thoughts. Frankie was the epitome of an educatorwho came to AIM at a time when the institute was just beginning to make its mark as a purveyor of management excellence. He certainly played a role in establishing the prestige of this institute and proved his mettle in many fields of expertise. The high regard given to him by peers and students is well-placed and most deserved.
Thank you, dear Frankie, for your loyal service to the institute. The AIM community owes you its gratitude for all the lessons you have imparted, the lives you have touched, and the friendships you nurtured. We will always hold you in the highest esteem and your memory will be with us forever.
Frankie recently sent me this very touching letter that I would like to share with you.
To my fellow Faculty (retired and active),
“Embrace the Vibe”
My apologies for this delay. I had intended to send this letter to you soon after a visit I made to AIM, now some months ago.
The first thing I noticed when I stepped into AIM, except for the spit and polish of a newly renovated facility was – let’s call it – “the vibe”. Apart from looking and smelling different, the whole place had a different, vibrant kind of feel that I shall call the vibe. You won’t notice it on a day-to-day basis, but I certainly noticed it given my situation as a patient.
I am home to a different sort of vibe. I’m not comparing my situation with active teaching at AIM, but I have images and memories of what it was like to prepare for class, to wait in my room for classes to start, to prepare in some way – either with coffee or simply getting a final read of the day’s session.
Reflecting from where I am now, I should have enjoyed the time spent getting ready rather than feeling bored. Keep those memories of class and AIM without irritation or resentment. They will become your good memories as time goes by. For my part, I will always have an idealized image of my first office desk and room.
With love and fond memories,
Farewell and rest in peace, dear Frankie!
Prof. Francisco Roman’s remains will lie in state at the AIM chapel from May 6, from 2 pm to 10 pm; May 7 – May 9 from 10 am to 10 pm. Mass schedules at AIM are as follows: May 6 at 6:30 pm, May 7 – 9 at 7 pm. The final mass will be on May 10 at 9 am. Details of the inurnment to follow,
Instead of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to your favorite charities.