Ayala's new CEO is cautiously optimistic

The reins of Ayala Corporation have been passed on to a new Zobel but the firm continues to look for fresh opportunities as it is cautiously optimistic about its post-COVID prospects.

 “We are cautiously optimistic about the business environment and will continue to prepare for a post- pandemic economic recovery,” said Ayala’s new Chief Executive Officer Fernando Zobel de Ayala (FZA).

 He added that, “We are hoping for a successful implementation of the country’s vaccination program that would pave the way for a revival of the economy.”

AC CEO Fernando Zobel de Ayala

 “With a healthy balance sheet and a set of diversified and strong franchises in our portfolio, we are confident that we will come out of this difficult period stronger,” said Zobel. 

 After the company’s Annual Stockholders Meeting, Ayala Corporation (AC) transitioned the position of Chief Executive Officer from Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala (JAZA) to his younger brother FZA, who has been designated President and CEO.

JAZA said that, “26 years has been a great run. Perhaps, it's even been too long, I would, maybe, argue, in a leadership position. And I'm just delighted to be passing on the reins to Fernando.”  JAZA will now focus on his role as Chairman of the Ayala Board.

 The brothers will continue to represent Ayala, retaining their current roles, as Chairman or Vice-Chairman, in the subsidiary boards of various companies under the Ayala group. 

FZA lauded JAZA for the latter’s outstanding leadership and track record of creating shareholder value in his 26 years of tenure as CEO.

“Since 1995, our market capitalization expanded more than six folds; our net income similarly grew more than six times. Since 1995, we rewarded our shareholders with dependable returns that averaged at 15 percent per annum. Over that period, we cumulatively paid P118 billion in dividends to our common shareholders,” he noted. 

 “As incoming President and CEO, I aim to build on the firm foundation that Jaime established, guided by our core strategy of maintaining leadership and relevance in the markets we serve,” FZA said.

  To support this, he said “We will place greater emphasis on our portfolio strategy with a sharper focus on optimizing returns from existing businesses, a highly disciplined approach on capital deployment; and explore opportunities for value realization initiatives to fund future investments.”

  FZA said that Ayala will continue to support the expansion of its core value drivers—Ayala Land, BPI, Globe, and AC Energy, while scaling up its healthcare and logistics businesses through AC Health and Entrego. In total, Ayala Group is allocating a combined capex of P196 billion in 2021.