Ayala wins prized Swiss plum

By Doris Dumlao, PDI



Ayala Corp., the storied conglomerate that was built up by its founding families to become one of the Philippines’ largest business groups of the last 180 years, is this year’s recipient of the prestigious IMD-Lombard Odier Global Family Business Award.

Given by IMD, a top-ranked global business school based in Switzerland, and Lombard Odier, one of the most respected private banks in Europe, the award is a coveted plum that recognizes successful family businesses, particularly when a firm unites familial interests with that of its business, and combines tradition and innovation while demonstrating a clear commitment to the local community.

Ayala president Fernando Zobel de Ayala flew to Dubai to receive the 19th Annual IMD-Lombard Odier Global Family Business Award during the 25th Summit of the Family Business Network International (FBN-I) on Oct. 16.

“The Ayala story is close to two centuries old, and is both fascinating and impressive,” says IMD president Dominique Turpin. “Over seven generations, this company has provided numerous lessons for other family businesses to learn from, in particular the importance of long-term vision, a broader social awareness and an ability to adapt. I warmly congratulate Ayala on winning this year’s award.”

Thierry Lombard, FBN-I chair and managing partner of the Lombard Odier Group, also a family firm that spans seven generations, says that the award “highlights the vital contribution that family businesses like Ayala” make to the global economy.

“We want to recognize an outstanding company operating according to the very best practices and offering inspiration to its peers. Ayala’s exceptional standards show just what family businesses are capable of,” Lombard says.

Previous winners included world-class companies such as the LEGO Group of Denmark, S.C. Johnson of the United States, Hermès S.A. of France, the Barilla Group of Italy, the Yazaki Corp. of Japan, the Merck Group of Germany, Odebrecht of Brazil, Firmenich of Switzerland and Bel Group of France.

Another Filipino group, Lopez Foundation, won the same award in 2007.

“We are absolutely delighted and honored to be the recipients of the IMD-Lombard Odier Global Family Business Award for 2014,” say Jaime Augusto and Fernando Zobel de Ayala in a joint statement on behalf of their family. “As we celebrate our 180th anniversary this year, we share this award with the many generations of exceptional executives, board members, and family members that have led the company over the years.”

Established in 1834 by two enterprising individuals, Ayala is now a diversified publicly listed conglomerate. It is a leading player in property development (Ayala Land), financial services (Bank of the Philippine Islands), telecommunications (Globe Telecom), electronics manufacturing services (Integrated Micro-Electronics, Inc.), water infrastructure (Manila Water), automotive distribution (Ayala Automotive) and business process outsourcing (LiveIt Investments). It also has new investments in traditional and renewable sources of power (AC Energy Holdings), transportation infrastructure (AC Infrastructure Holdings), and the for-profit education sector.

The IMD-Lombard Odier Global Family Business Award was created in 1996 to provide a unique platform for sharing best practices and analyzing the prevailing economic conditions. It aims to promote family businesses by highlighting the high standards of recipient companies.

Edwin Mercado, president of Mercardo General Hospital Inc. whose family teamed up with Ayala Land Inc. in hospital business, greatly admires the group’s passion to serve the Filipino people.

“We’ve been approached by other groups, but the family chose Ayala over the others because of the alignment in our vision and our DNA. These values are fairness, integrity, being family-centric and also the value of long-term sustainability.

Retired executive Antonino Aquino, who had worked for the Ayala group for 34 years (as president of Ayala Land Inc. and Manila Water Co.), says that what he likes most about the Ayala group is its thrust at improving quality of life at the base of the pyramid while it does something good for the business.

He describes Ayala to be a group that allows its people to meet their personal goals while being attuned to corporate goals.


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