Steering our course: JAZA and FZA on Ayala’s corporate stewardship

The Ayala group was founded in 1834—that’s almost two centuries ago. A huge part of the company’s success stems from a company culture that thinks of both today and tomorrow, creating businesses that both succeed and create shared value for their stakeholders.

These are values that are shared at all levels of the organization.

The Shareholders' Association of the Philippines (SharePHIL) was formed to educate the public on how their investments can help fuel economic development. At their summit last August 31, 2017, Chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and President and COO Fernando Zobel de Ayala shared their personal insights on how important corporate stewardship is to Ayala’s long-term growth and relevance.

Governance: the “business of business” and “the business of family”

Making a distinction between the “business of business” and the “business of family” has prevented unreasonable family needs or interests from compromising the business. “We hire the best possible professional talents to run our companies,” says JAZA. “They are highly educated, well-trained, and have a wealth of business experience. We empower them to make decisions.”

In the “business of family”, new generations are taught the difference between ownership and stewardship: they have a responsibility to preserve and build on the family’s legacy through their own contributions. “Family members need to understand they must work for something to deserve something,” JAZA shares. “While they are encouraged to work for the business, they have to prove their worth like anyone else.”


Culture: diverse thinking, trust, and openness

“We ensure sufficient diversity in thinking with a proper combination of knowledge, experience, and expertise to guide management as it addresses challenges and market opportunities,” says FZA. “We encourage a culture of trust, openness, and constructive dissent. We have a culture of healthy challenge in the boardroom and senior management.”


Transparency: increasing loyalty and accountability

“We believe that transparency goes beyond regulatory requirements and should take investor needs as the foundation,” says FZA. “We have started communicating in detail our long-term strategic targets to our shareholders, including our five-year plan for 2020. This level of transparency does not only help investors understand our long-term thinking, it also effectively imposes greater accountability on ourselves to execute on these aspirations.”


Corporate stewardship: deeper engagement with society

At Ayala, we strive for shareholder value that reflects shared value. “We must evolve to a more imaginative capitalism, where social issues are integrated into and made central, not merely adjacent, to strategy,” says JAZA. “From both a practical and moral standpoint, businesses cannot thrive in an environment rife with economic inequity. I believe that now, more than ever, a deeper engagement with society is indispensable to the survival and success of private enterprises.”

A company that integrates sustainability into our business strategies, reflecting its commitment to broader civic goals, and creating meaningful, positive impact on society and the country—this is how Ayala is being defined today and in the years to come.


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