5 AUGUST 2019
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Philippine Airlines (PAL) has appointed Gilbert Santa Maria as its new president and COO after he was handpicked by chairman and CEO Lucio Tan and unanimously approved by the 15-member board.
He will replace Jamie Bautista, who retired in early June. Santa Maria told staff: "PAL is the airline that meets the needs of local and global travellers by showcasing our brand's main strength – the passion for safety and service.
"Maintaining the current level of service is important and of course, profitability. Let us do our share to make PAL reach greater heights. I will be with you every step of the way."
Reports noted Santa Maria has little aviation background, spending most of his career in the US with numerous start-up and technology companies. For 15 years, he was in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.
His most recent role was COO of the BPO specialist IBEX Global, based in Washington DC and before that he was COO and chief financial officer of IQ BackOffice, a California-based finance and accounting outsourcer.
PAL, Asia’s first airline, is re-equipping with new fuel-efficient aircraft as part of efforts to expand its route network and has trimmed losses from a net US$141m in 2017 to $83.3m last year.
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