Philippine Airlines Names Lucio Tan Son-in-Law as New President

A new era for PAL.

After days of speculation, Philippine Airlines has officially named a new president to replace outgoing chief Gilbert Santa Maria. In an announcement on Monday (January 31), the nation’s flag carrier said it has appointed Stanley K. Ng, SVP for Airline Operations, as president and COO of the company.  

Ng, who is a son-in-law of billionaire Lucio C. Tan, will sit as the new president and COO of the carrier in an acting or officer-in-charge capacity. He is the first pilot to assume presidency of PAL since the 1960s. He started as an on-ground staff in 2003 before becoming a second officer in 2008. In 2019, he was promoted to SVP.

Ng is married to Lilybeth Tan, the daughter of Lucio Tan and the AVP of PAL for Pilot Affairs.  

“The board expressed full trust and confidence in Capt. Ng, as well as in its senior management team which remains intact, as the nation’s flag carrier looks to maintain the momentum toward full recovery,” the company said in a statement.

“From check-in to passenger boarding, I was exposed to everything that went on at the airport.
It helped me understand the problems that the airline staff and customers would encounter,” Ng
shared in a release sent to Esquire Philippines.

Ng studied at the PAL Aviation School and further trained at the Airbus Training Center in Toulouse, France and then went on to complete the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.

“I discovered a lot about my purpose while taking the management program at Harvard," he said. "I
realized there is confidence in experience and strength in humility. That’s the kind of leadership I’d like to bring in PAL,” he said, adding that, he plans to harness PAL’s internal expertise to solve problems in a collaborative manner, which is also a strategy to use the airline’s resources more effectively."


He was ialso involved in the company's Chapter 11 filing in New York.

“My part in the Chapter 11 filing was operations and safety," he said. "So, we're able to actually perform well. In terms of operational safety, our standards are really high."

Over the weekend, it was reported that Santa Maria was leaving his post after helping steer PAL into and out of its Chapter 11 restructuring last year. He had been president of Pal for two and half years.

“The former President and COO will continue to make himself available to assist in the leadership transition over the next few weeks,” the statement read. 

Santa Maria is credited for many things in PAL but he will perhaps be remembered most for leading the company through some of its most challenging years, including taking charge as PAL hemorrhaged billions of pesos in losses, leading to a bankruptcy filing in New York. That ultimately led to a successful restructuring program that freed up PAL from significant amounts of debt and provided the company with additional liquidity for long-term growth. 


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