Power handover at PAL

A former senior Philippine Airlines (PAL) executive, Jaime Bautista, has taken over as the carrier's president and chief operating officer from the retiring Avelino Zapanta.

Bautista was until the appointment president and chief executive of the country's third-largest airline, Air Philippines. Both PAL and Air Philippines are controlled by beer and tobacco magnate Lucio Tan, who is one of the richest men in the Philippines.

Bautista, 47, brings both "youth and experience" into the airline says PAL. "He is an old hand in the aviation sector, with a strong background in finance." Bautista has long worked for Tan-controlled companies. An accountant, he has even worked at PAL before in senior roles, including as executive vice-president in the 1990s. He has served on PAL's board of advisors since 2002.

Bautista officially took over late in August from 62-year-old Zapanta, who insiders say had been looking to retire for some time. Zapanta became president and chief operating officer early in 1999 as the then-troubled airline was fighting for its survival. He was a career employee at PAL, well-liked by employees.

In addition to his new role, Bautista is treasurer and a member of the board of directors of another company closely linked to Tan, MacroAsia, which is a local aviation services outift.

He takes over after a tough 2003/4 for PAL, which was hurt last year by the effects of the SARS outbreak and is smarting from rising oil prices.



Source: Airline Business