William M. Esposo was born on January 12, 1949 in Manila to the late Marcial Valbuena Esposo and Praxedes Macgregor Esposo.
His father hailed from one of the earliest clans of Paoay, Ilocos Norte, and was Chairman of the Board and President of the original Philippine Education Company (PECO), which in the pre-war (WW II) and early post-war years, dominated the publication wholesale-retail market.
On the maternal side, he is descended from the Macgregor clan of the Highlands of Scotland. His maternal grandfather Ian C. Trotter-Macgregor, who came to the Philippines at the turn of the century, was the Philippine Open Golf Champion in 1919 and 1920 and was one of the pioneers who established the Philippine Packing Corporation (Del Monte) in Bukidnon.
Billy Esposo studied at the Ateneo de Manila, San Sebastian College and University of Santo Tomas. San Sebastian College and the University of Santo Tomas (the Pontifical University) recognized him as Most Outstanding Alumnus in 1990 and 1991, respectively.
His involvement with mass communications is extensive. At age 17 he started in Radio as an announcer at the Mareco Broadcasting Network (DZBM and DZLM). He has acted in theater from 1964 till 1979, performing major roles - mostly in classical plays - under the country's top stage directors.
In 1970 he joined the advertising world and last served as President of Asia Communications Center, Inc. (one of the country's top ad agencies during his stewardship). This was before he joined the government of President Corazon C. Aquino from 1987 to 1988 as part of her cabinet.
As an advertising professional, Billy's work earned several awards given by the advertising industry including an award for excellence for the "Seiko Time" television commercial of 1975 which reinforced the Seiko brand's domination of the Philippine watch market during the 1970's and 1980's .
In 1979 when the Seiko Company launched ALBA it - a sister brand designed to service the lesser priced segment of the market in the Southeast Asian region - the Philippine promotions campaign registered the best marketing performance in the region. The Philippine ALBA advertising campaign was spearheaded by Billy, especially the brand positioning which deviated from the Hong Kong-made brand positioning that the rest of the region adopted.
From 1977 to 1985 Billy taught Advertising at Assumption College with an official designation of Guest Lecturer (but enjoyed the equivalent stature of Associate Professor).
He also established Media Builders, Inc. in 1978 which became one of the country's biggest independent television production companies and is a board member of five printing companies namely, Printhouse, Inc., Fina Products, Golden Converters, Inc., Papertech, Inc., and Genesis Printing which are now merged under Papertech, Inc.
In 1985, he was tapped to head the propaganda effort in the campaign to elect Corazon C. Aquino president and in the process he organized and managed the Cory Media Bureau which undertook the media management of the campaign.
Billy devised the vital unconventional media plan that offset the Marcos regime's media monopoly. The presidential snap election of 1986 which culminated in the great people power revolt was mostly credited as a media effort. And the whole world followed the events through the media.
Shortly after the EDSA people power revolt, Billy assisted in the formation of the Ministry of Information and was an Acting Director of the Bureau of Broadcasts. He went back to the private sector on 25 March 1986 to head his companies again.
In June of 1986 he joined the group that conceived and launched the Philippine Star and he wrote a regular column titled "As I Wreck this Chair" in the Star. To this day he remains a stockholder of the Philippine Star which at over 180,000 circulated copies daily is one of the country's biggest English-language newspapers. He was also a stockholder and a Board Director of the Business Star - the leading business daily at that time.
In 1987, Esposo spearheaded the media campaign for the ratification of the new Philippine constitution. He also directed the publicity effort for the new party, Lakas ng Bansa, which evolved into the LDP - President Aquino's main party. And he also advised the media campaign for the administration's Senatorial lineup which eventually won 22 of 24 seats in the 1987 elections.
When the late DLG Secretary Jaime N. Ferrer took over the Local Government post, Billy was one of the key people Ferrer brought to the Department. Billy assumed the post of Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs in January 1987 and is recognized for the successful promotion of two important Ferrer programs - Participatory Democracy and the Unarmed Civilian Self-defense Organizations which became crucial in stopping the spread of communism in the Philippines. In January 1988, President Aquino appointed Billy to the post of Director-General of the Philippine Information Agency. A physical setback resulting in a 3-month hospital confinement, which nearly cost him his life, forced Billy to resign from public service in September 1988.
In October 1989, Billy was appointed President of the RPN-Channel 9 Television and Radio Network. In 1989, RPN-9 was losing P 90 million when Billy assumed the presidency. Gross sales were down to less than P 200 million that year.
But by the time Billy left RPN in September 1992, the network was headed towards gross sales of P 600 million and a bottom-line of P 100 million. This reversal of a serious downtrend was achieved during one of the most trying periods in the history of the Philippine economy. From late 1989 to 1992, the Philippines was plagued by a series of natural and man-made disasters.
In 1991, Billy accepted the invitation to sit as one of the Board of Trustees of the Ciba-Geigy Foundation; a non-profit organization which undertakes humanitarian and development projects and he served in this capacity for three years.
In 1993, Billy organized two new companies - Macgregor Resources, Inc. and the P.R.I.M.E. Corporation - which he steered as its Chairman.
In 1997, Billy organized the MacAlpin Corporation which is a film distribution company with head office in Los Angeles, USA and its marketing operations in Sydney. Billy sat as Chairman of MacAlpin Corporation which distributed over 1,000 titles of movies, TV series, documentaries (produced by American and European film makers) all over Asia. MacAlpin was closed in 2005 owing to drastic shifts in the market for television programs here and in Asia.
On July 30, 1999, Billy, along with a group of men and women who were involved in the preservation of the gains of the first EDSA People Power Revolution, formally launched the Council On Philippine Affairs (COPA), under the patronage of His Eminence, Jaime Cardinal Sin, Archbishop of Manila who later was designated honorary Chairman, Sponsor and Spiritual Adviser of COPA. The mission of the COPA was to keep the citizenry informed, concerned and involved in the various problems affecting Philippine society - be it political, economic or social.
Billy, a veteran from the Cory 1985-86 campaign and who put together the media bureau for that effort, was the silent strategist who helped mobilize the forces that toppled the corrupt regime of Joseph Ejercito Estrada, now known as EDSA Dos or People Power II.
He was Chairman of the COPA from 2000 to November 2003.
In April 2001 Billy went back to writing a column 3 times a week but this time for the INQ7.NET - the website of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and GMA-7 Television Network. He stopped writing his column THE HIGH GROUND when he became too tied up with his hemodialysis treatments for chronic kidneys and eventual kidney transplant last 09 January 2002.
He contributed articles to the Philippine STAR every now and then and resumed his column at the INQ7.NET after his transplant. His column occasionally landed in the Top 10 Most-Read Columns of the Week in INQ7. As a political analyst, he has been the resource person of international media - the South China Morning Post, BBC World, UPI, Agence France Press, Asahi Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, AP, Asian News Network, to name a few.
In December 2006, Billy returned to the Philippine STAR to resume his "As I Wreck This Chair" column which appears every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
As a writer, he was awarded a citation by the Philippine Medical Association in May 2008 for a series of enlightening columns Billy wrote about the Cheaper Medicines Bill which was eventually passed.
Billy was also awarded the Manila Rotary Club’s prestigious 2007 Journalism Awards for being voted the Opinion Writer of the Year.
Last February 26, 2011, Billy was awarded by Philippine President Benigno Simeon Aquino III the Presidential Legion of Honor Award, Commander Rank, as recognition for his contributions to the restoration of democracy in the Philippines in 1986. Billy was among six People Power Heroes who were honored, three posthumously, on the 25th anniversary of the People Power Revolution. The awards were given at the Ceremonial Hall of Malacanan Palace.
Billy has been a member of the Focolare Movement since 1967 and was responsible for injecting the comics section in NEW CITY, the movement's worldwide publication. He was a featured speaker - the only Asian panel speaker - in the 2000 NetOne International Media Congress that was organized by the Focolare Movement and was held in the Pope's summer residence of Castelgandolfo, near Rome. He was again a speaker in the 2004 NetOne International Media Congress that was also held in Castelgandolfo in November 2004.
He also represents the Clan Gregor Society of Scotland in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.