Tuesday, May 1, 2012

CNN interview with Ayala brothers

CNN is currently airing feature programmes on the Philippines. What got my attention was Andrew Stevens' interview with brothers Jaime Augusto and Fernando Zobel de Ayala, the CEO and COO of Ayala Corporation respectively. I'm actually a great admirer of their company's projects and truly believe in the value that the company brings to the table. So much so that my stock investment in AC outweighs all other positions I have in the Philippine Stock Exchange. When I saw the 30 minute interview, I became even more convinced that this investment is definitely for the long run. Small share investors like us rarely have the privilege of picking the minds of the people who run the companies we own and this interview provided a good opportunity to do so. Yes, I may own a miniscule, insignificant portion of a giant corporation but I do put in the effort of knowing MY company. The thing I admire most about the brothers was captured in the last part of the interview. To quote:

STEVENS: What's the secret of mixing family and business successfully?

F AYALA: I guess it's in the way that they handle their children - with an enormous amount of fairness, giving everyone their appropriate amount of time and giving everyone equal opportunities. And so, that's what we've had in our family, and we just get along extremely well. We're a family of seven. It's Jaime and I and five sisters. And we're very, very close. And I think that'll serve us very well in this generation.

STEVENS: Would you like to see your children be the ninth generation leaders of Ayala?

JA AYALA: Of course, it would be wonderful to see that family tradition continue, but the whole issue of governance on one hand and professional executive leadership on the other are two separate issues. And we just want to make sure that it's our duty - and Fernando and I feel it's our duty - to make sure that Ayala remains a progressive company with progressive leadership.

STEVENS: Do you think that this conservative side of the business - or your business management - comes down to the fact that you see yourself more as a custodian of the family brand?

F AYALA: Very much so. We are stewards for the next generation and, again, this is something that has been mentioned again and again to the family members. So your focus is always on the legacy, on the history, and really looking forward to the next generation and making sure that you pass the baton in the same way that it's been passed on to you.

So to present and future shareholders of Ayala Corp., I think our company is in good hands. 


  1. I agree. It's one of the things I like about Ayala corp versus other conglomerates - they proven they can overcome the hurdle of traversing generations.

    And this interview actually inspired me to write an article about the value of stewardship.