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Wed, 31 July 2019

Philippine Airlines Appoints Gilbert F. Santa Maria as President and COO

Philippine Airlines has appointed Gilbert F. Santa Maria as President and Chief Operating Officer.

Santa Maria takes over the role from Jaime J. Bautista who retired in June after almost 15 years in the position.

Santa Maria was a handpicked nominee of PAL Chairman and CEO, Dr. Lucio C. Tan.

"I call on all PAL executives and staff to support Gilbert Santa Maria. Let's work together and help him face PAL's many challenges," Dr. Tan said.

Santa Maria is leaving his Los Angeles-based advisory firm to join Philippine Airlines in Manila.

Philippine Airlines Airbus A321neo reg: RP-C9932. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

He has a Master’s in Public and Private Management from the Yale University School of Management and a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of the Philippines in Diliman. He was born and raised in Mindanao.

The new airline President has three decades of executive management and leadership experience gained across multiple industries in companies around the world.

For the last 15 years, Santa Maria was a key leader and contributor in Philippines’ highly successful BPO industry. Until early 2018 he was COO of Washington, DC-based BPO company Ibex Global and was responsible for its 18,000 employees around the world. Before IBEX, he was COO and CFO of IQ BackOffice, a California-based finance and accounting outsourcer that was an investee company of LiveIt Investments, Ayala Corporation’s BPO holding company.

He supported the governance of LiveIt’s investee companies as a member of the boards of IQ BackOffice; Integreon, a London- based KPO; and Stream, a leading Massachusetts-based global Call Center company. Before that, he led Corporate Development for Stream, having joined its leadership after its 2009 merger with Arizona-based eTelecare Global Solutions, where he led Corporate Development and eTelecare’s 11,000-employee Philippine Operations through the integration of the two companies. He joined the startup eTelecare in 2004.

Prior to joining the BPO industry, Santa Maria helped lead a Singapore-based internet 1.0 startup called Similan.com. He was Executive Director of Argosy Partners, which was organized by Filipino business leaders in the wake of the Asian currency crisis in 1998 to be the Philippine affiliate of global Private Equity funds like Warburg Pincus, Chase Capital and GE Investments. He was one of the youngest General Managers of Pepsi Cola Products Philippines’ Manila Operations.

Santa Maria was also a management consultant at Booz Allen & Hamilton in New York where he led various strategy and operations consulting engagements for global clients like P&G, J&J, BOC of the UK and BHP of Australia. He started his career as a management trainee in production and engineering at Unilever in Manila.

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