Philippine Airlines names Gilbert Santa Maria as new president

Aika Rey
Philippine Airlines names Gilbert Santa Maria as new president
BPO industry leader Gilbert Santa Maria is a personal choice of Philippine Airlines chairman Lucio Tan to head the flag carrier

MANILA, Philippines – Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) named Gilbert Santa Maria as its new president and chief operating officer on Monday, July 29.

On Monday, the 15-man PAL board unanimously approved the appointment of Santa Maria, a personal pick of PAL chairman and chief executive officer Lucio Tan.

“PAL is the airline that meets the needs of local and global travelers by showcasing our brand’s main strength – the passion for safety and service,” Santa Maria said in a statement on Monday.

“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,” he added.

Santa Maria replaces former PAL president and COO Jaime Bautista, who retired last June.

Prior to his appointment as the head of the Philippines’ flag carrier, Santa Maria spent 15 years as a key leader in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

Santa Maria is the COO of top BPO firm IBEX Global, based in Washington DC in the United States. He is leaving IBEX to join PAL in Manila.

Before IBEX, Santa Maria was the COO and chief financial officer of IQ BackOffice, a California-based finance and accounting outsourcer.

Santa Maria has a master’s degree in public and private management from the Yale University School of Management. –

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at