Jaime “Jimmy” Bautista, former president and chief operating officer of Philippine Airlines Inc., is back and holding office again at the country’s flag carrier. PAL insiders confirmed that Jimmy has returned to PAL and is literally back at the same office room, where he held the chief position of the airline until April 20, 2012.
This bit of news will predictably set tongues wagging in the industry. Jimmy, however, is not reclaiming his old executive post now held by tycoon Ramon S. Ang. Jimmy is in PAL to serve as a sort of executive assistant to tycoon Lucio Tan. The insiders said the 57-year-old Jimmy, among other things, will represent El Kapitan in board meetings if the tycoon is not available because of other engagements, or for health reasons. The airline and tobacco magnate is turning 80 on Thursday.
The PAL insiders said Mr. Tan trusts Jimmy and has asked his lieutenant to sub for him in some of his PAL duties, including board meetings. Jimmy has busied himself at the University of the East, where he is the vice chairman of the board of trustees.
Jimmy’s presence in PAL will re-ignite rumors that El Kapitan is about to take back PAL after ceding 49 percent of parent PAL Holdings to conglomerate San Miguel Corp. for $500 million in April 2012. Claiming back PAL from San Miguel is not a remote possibility, but that is another story.