A Leader of Leaders

August 18, 2008

Nation-building as a goal may seem ambitious, but Mr. Ayala believes that achieving this is possible through a two-pronged approach: by leading the country’s biggest property developer in providing for the residential, retail, and office needs of Filipinos; and by nurturing leaders within the firm.

MANAGEMENT EXPERTISE

Mr. Ayala is no stranger to the task of growing an already big company and leading a pool of emerging leaders. Although his post at Ayala Land is his first foray into real estate, the ALI chief is not a tenderfoot. He brings with him an extensive experience in general management and he draws on skills in strategy development, operations management, performance management, and organizational effectiveness, having spent 19 years at the US, Mexico, Tokyo, and Hong Kong offices of consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

Since he assumed the post in 2004, the company has undergone several changes that are aimed at increasing the value of shareholders’ investment in ALI. Under his watch, new opportunities for growth were created and ALI began expanding its offerings for each of its business units.

The company also successfully segmented its residential product lines to cater to various markets, hence the establishment of Ayala Land Premier for the upscale market, Community Innovations for young achievers, and Avida Land for the middle-income group.

This proved to be effective as ALI posted P22.1 billion in revenues by end-2005, the highest ever recorded by the company. Its net income as of last year was pegged at P3.6 billion, up 21% from 2004.

LEADING LEADERS

But Mr. Ayala’s role as CEO does not end at shoring up sales and initiating property developments. Because ALI has always prided itself in having the best people in its team and guiding them to become leaders, Mr. Ayala in effect serves as a leader to the leaders.

“We have made a concerted effort to create an organization that enables leaders to emerge. We have tried to devolve decision-making capacity and clarify accountabilities to empower our teams… This creates leadership opportunities throughout the organization,” he said.

Mr. Ayala admitted that he is more of an overseer than a hands-on manager. This, he said, is also in keeping with the company’s goal of decentralizing leadership and empowering its people.

“I try to see to it that all our colleagues at ALI are equipped and trained to overcome the challenges that work-life presents on a day-to-day basis,” Mr. Ayala said.

“What we need to do is take our solid base of talent in the company to a new level, one in which hierarchies are being replaced by networks and leadership is distributed … rather than [having] pre-programmed directives from some higher authority. Our focus, therefore, is on driving growth by organizing for the future and by creating not a pool of employees, but rather a team of leaders,” he added.

BUSY IN 2007

ALI’s success cannot be credited to one person alone but to the rest of the team, and Mr. Ayala makes sure that his firm is prepared for the coming year. In the pipeline are a number of mall projects, including the much-anticipated TriNoma shopping center in Quezon City , which is expected to increase ALI’s gross leasable area by 30%. ALI will also embark on a geographical expansion of its residential projects, and it will develop information technology (IT) parks for the business process outsourcing (BPO) market.

ALI is also poised to deepen its sales channels, making the balikbayan market a platform for growth in the coming years.

For someone whose aim is to contribute to the transformation of society, perhaps nothing can beat having the opportunity to be in an industry that is, quite literally, engaged in nation-building.

“The best part of being at Ayala Land is that we have the opportunity to become a prime mover in national development. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be with Ayala Land , as real estate as an industry is really a main driver of the national economy in any country,” said Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) President and Chief Executive Officer Jaime I. Ayala.

Source: Ayala Land Inc. Article Listing

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