SINGAPORE?For his hands-on approach to developing people in his company, one of the Philippines? most influential business leaders has been recognized and honored as Asia?s most nurturing businessman.
Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, chair and CEO of the Ayala Corp., received the Asia Talent Management Award at the 9th CNBC Asia Business Leaders Awards (Abla) here Thursday night.
?This is a surprise. Ayala Corp. is a corporation based in the Philippines. We?re a mix of different businesses so talent management has become of vital importance,? said Zobel in accepting the award in ceremonies broadcast live worldwide over CNBC.
Zobel, 51, was recognized for ?his personal involvement in supporting and nurturing leadership within the company.?
Stellar and visionary CEOs
CNBC has been giving recognition to ?stellar and visionary? Asian CEOs since 2001 as its ?way of celebrating and recognizing business leaders who have shaped the Asian economy and who will continue to lead corporate Asia forward,? said Satpal Brainch, president and managing director of CNBC Asia Pacific.
The Asia Talent Management Award is given to the business leader who values his company?s workforce and is committed to developing, retaining and nurturing the next generation of leaders.
?The whole issue of talent management is of great importance for us in the group. We?re a group of companies, and the only thing that would differentiate us long-term is how we manage talent, attract them, make them happy and really work as a team,? Zobel said in an interview.
He is the third Filipino to receive an Abla award: Globe Telecom?s former CEO Gerardo Ablaza Jr. was named Asia Business Leader of the Year in 2004 Jr. while Jollibee?s Ernesto Tan Caktiong won the Corporate Citizen of the Year award in 2006.
Sense of family
For Zobel, promoting and developing a community culture among employees matter more than strictly doing business.
He considers this sense of family, of relating to people, as ?one of the best parts of the job.?
Noting how employees in the Ayala group stay for ?many, many years, he said ?there must be some elements of it that make them comfortable.?
?I think that while we?re a performance-based organization, we?re still an organization that likes to promote a sense of belonging, and we promote that at many different levels, both in the formal and informal levels,? Zobel said.
Gives credit to people
He gives back to his people the success of 176-year-old Ayala Corp. which has risen to become a top Asian company with subsidiaries in banking, real estate, telecommunications, electronics manufacturing and water distribution, among others.
?You nurture people, see what?s the best place for them, make them have a sense of belonging, listen to them, get ideas from them; a team-based approach is actually a lot more fun than doing things alone. It?s the fun part of the job,? Zobel said.
Zobel said he and his brother Fernando, Ayala Corp. president and COO, consider succession planning as a critical element in ensuring the corporation?s sustainability.
?We actually look at the succession plans and actually have the chance to review everyone. We do that twice a year. So I guess there?s a lot of engagement on this front,? he said.
According to Zobel, Ayala employees are given opportunities for cross-posting within the group, a practice that keeps them excited about their jobs.
?Sometimes it can get a little tiring being in the same area. That?s the good thing about being in a group of companies, giving a chance for people to move around, maybe try something different and also to grow. Sometimes they get extraordinary opportunities on that front,? he said.
CNBC established the Abla to salute exceptional regional CEOs for their continued commitment to excellence in Asia. The winners are chosen for epitomizing the core leadership values?strength, innovation, ingenuity, knowledge and foresight?that are considered key to carving out powerful businesses in the global economy.
There are six awards contended for: Asia Business Leader of the Year, Asia Innovator of the Year, Asia Talent Management Award, Corporate Social Responsibility Award, Asia Viewers? Choice Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Sir Gordon Wu, the engineer once described by former President Fidel Ramos as ?the man who turned the lights on,? was given the Lifetime Achievement Award for being the driving force behind Hopewell Holdings, the Hong Kong-based construction conglomerate noted for its giant infrastructure projects in mainland China and Southeast Asia.
Hopewell undertook the design and construction of two power projects in the Philippines during the Ramos administration.
Anil Manibhai Naik, chair and managing director of Indian technology and engineering giant, Larsen & Toubro, won the Asia Business Leader Award ?for inspiring growth? within the company and helping the business expand worldwide.
The Asia Innovator Award went to Yancey Hai, CEO of Delta Electronics of Taiwan while the Corporate Social Responsibility Award was given to Francis Yeoh, managing director of YTL Corp., one of Malaysia?s leading integrated infrastructure conglomerates.
Ajai Chowdhry, chair and CEO of India?s HCL Infosystems, was chosen by CNBC Asia Pacific viewers to receive the special Asia Viewers? Choice Award.