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Out of the bag


Fil C. Sionil

Fil C. Sionil

Rumors that had been circulating in the corridors of business are now out of the bag.

Colleagues wrote, one after the other, the impending retirement of Philippine Airlines (PAL) President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime “JJB” Bautista end of this month.

In the book of quips and quotes by E.C. McKenzie, rumor is likened to a cheque – “Never endorse it until you’re sure it’s genuine.” In the case of Mr. JJB’s retirement that has been going around for close to a month already, it has now been endorsed. He admitted he will be bowing out as the chief steward of the flag carrier at the end of June.

Now that it’s affirmed, the market place is again riled up with speculations on whether there’ll be changes in top management, specifically officers who are perceived to be aligned with Mr. JJB, or will they be marginalized.

Then, there’s also the question of whether he was asked to tender his resignation due to certain insinuations. The ever gentleman that he is, Mr. JJB is tight-lipped about the backstory, instead saying that he was bitten by the retirement bug.

He has been entertaining the idea of retiring for quite sometime already to have more time with his family – his wife Joji and only daughter Jaime Liza and grandchildren, the eight-year-old tyke Sef and five-year-old Elle, who are in Singapore.

He is a doting father and grandfather. On long weekends and if his schedule can permit it, he and Ma’am Joji would shuttle from Manila to Singapore to spend time with their daughter and grandchildren. On several of those trips I was fortunate to be invited to join the media delegation, and when there was a lull in our schedule, he would join us for a shopping spree to buy “pasalubong” (gifts, but it’s more endearing to use the Filipino term, and giving pasalubong to friends and relatives is one of our endearing qualities). He would regale us with anecdotes about Sef and Elle. He’s tickled pink whenever he hears “Lolo Jaime.”

Mr. JJB looks forward to his retirement. In fact, in May, he had already submitted his letter of retirement to no less than the top honcho, Lucio Tan, but was turned down. For whatever transpired between them and him, one thing is for sure–Mr. JJB will have a blast by July 1.

As he bows out of the flag carrier, which he piloted from its financial turbulence to where it is now, recognized by Skytrax as the “World’s Most Improved Airline” for 2019, the carrier that achieved the biggest leap in product and service quality in a survey of over 350 leading airlines worldwide.

PAL now ranks as among the top 30 airline in the world, rising 19 spots from 49 in 2018. Also, Skytrax has re-certified PAL as a 4-Star Global Airline based on comprehensive quality audits performed last December, 2018, and January, 2019. These are fitting tributes to the man, who has contributed so much to the growth of the company.


This just in. I heard that the retirement bug has likewise bitten Enrico “Eric” Cruz, chief country officer of Deutsche Bank. Mr. JJB and Mr. Eric have similarities: Both are in the ripe age of 62 and have two grandchildren, the latter though are based in London. Being considered to take his stead is, like Mr. Eric a homegrown talent, who has been with the bank for 24 years.

To you both gentlemen, salute!

Talkback to me at sionil731@gmail.com

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