Jaime Zobel de Ayala
Jaime Zobel de Ayala (born 1920) is a prominent Filipino businessman and world-class photographer. He was also appointed Ambassador to Court of St. James and Scandinavian countries from 1970 to 1975 by the former President Ferdinand Marcos. He is the concurrent Chairman Emeritus of the publicly-listed company, Ayala Corporation. His son Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala is the Chairman and CEO, while his second son Fernando Zobel de Ayala is the President and COO. In 2010, Forbes ranked him as the fourth richest Filipino with a net worth of USD 1.4 billion, behind Henry Sy, Sr., Lucio Tan and John Gokongwei, Jr.
Mr. Zobel studied at La Salle (Madrid, Spain) for his baccalaureate degree in 1953. He graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Sciences at the Harvard University in 1957. He also had attended the Harvard University Graduate School Program of Business Administration for his degree in Advanced Management in 1963.
In 1958, when Zobel was only 24, his father, Don Alfonso Zobel offered him to work for the company under the supervision of his cousin, Enrique Zobel and Uncle Joseph McMiking. He started off as an executive assistant with a monthly salary of P400 taking down notes and minutes during the MANCOM meetings.
He continued to work in different departments for the next 10 years, which included being in the training section of the family’s insurance company, Filipinas Life. In 1970, he was appointed by former President Ferdinand Marcos to be the Ambassador to the Court of St. James and the Scandinavian countries.
When he came back in 1975, he was appointed President of Filipinas Life. Zobel revealed he had fun talking to jeepney drivers and housewives to invest in insurance. In 1984, he took over as Chairman and President when his cousin, Enrique Zobel retired. Under his leadership he was credited for steering the Ayala Group of Companies into its fastest growth periods. The 90s saw the “Golden Age of the Ayala”.
In 1985, he decided that the family should support former President Corazon Aquino because Zobel came to this conclusion, “If the forces of reform were defeated, there would be no place for us here.”
In 1995, he retired as the company’s Chief Executive Officer and his eldest son, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, took over. He retired as Chairman in 2006 and is now the Chairman Emeritus of the Ayala Corporation.
In 1968, Zobel was the recipient of the first of two decorations for culture 'Comendador al Mérito Civil' from the Spanish Government. In 1980, he received his second decorations for culture, 'Chevalier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres' from the French government. In 1984, he received the Senator Award from the Jaycees. In 1987, he was awarded Management Man of the Year by the Management Association of the Philippines. His son Jaime Augusto Zobel was also awarded Management Man of the Year in 1987.
In 2004, Zobel was awarded FIRST Responsible Capitalism Award. He received the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Legion of Honor and Grand Commander Award by the President of the Republic of the Philippines in 2009.
Zobel took up photography in the 70s and has never looked back since then. Award-winning writer, Butch Dalisay said that Zobel has elevated photography to the level of philosophy, or brought philosophy down to level of concrete.
He is the first Filipino amateur photographer to be confirmed “Licentiate” by the Royal Photographic Society and has received similar commendations from the French and Spanish governments for his contributions to art and culture. Some of his works are:
- Flores y Formas (Spain, 1995)
- The Spectrum of Flowers (Manila, 1996)
- Seasons of the Mind (Manila, 1997)
- Layers, Levels and Light (Manila, 1998)
- Zobel and Zen (Manila, 2001)
- Garden, Silence, Symbols (Barcelona, 2003)
In 2009, Zobel had his first photography exhibit at the Marriott Hotel, Cebu. The exhibit was entitled, “Nature Interpreted” and had 19 artworks for sale at P42,500.00. The proceeds of the exhibit went to the Filipinas Heritage Library, which was a project of the Ayala Foundation.
Zobel is married to Beatriz Miranda Barcon Zobel de Ayala. Their children are Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Beatriz Susana Zobel de Ayala, Patrisha Zobel de Ayala, Cristina Zobel de Ayala, Monica Zobel de Ayala and Sofia Zobel de Ayala.
He also has his own Facebook fan page.
- World Wildlife Fund
- The Zobel Dynasty
- Zobel de Ayala
- Forbes 40 richest Filipinos
- Jaime Zobel's photography
- Jaime Zobel and the light that never goes out
- Jaime Zobel de Ayala: The artist as businessman
- Jaime Zobel de Ayala photo exhibit