Ayala Land Names its First Female CEO

Ayala Land Inc., the largest property developer in the country, announces the appointment of its first female CEO: Anna Ma. Margarita Dy.

The real estate industry continues to be the top industry in the country, given that it has generated a gross value of about PHP 536 billion in 2022 alone. As a key driver of the Philippine economy, the industry was reported to contribute around 13.1% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019.

Aside from the country’s Build Build Build (BBB) Projects, other real estate companies have made an impact in the country—among which is Ayala Land Incorporated (ALI), which also happens to be the largest and most established property developer in the country.

And in line the retirement of incumbent CEO Bernard Vincent “Bobby” Dy at the end of the month, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Anna Ma. Margarita “Meean” Dy will be stepping up as the next CEO.

This will make her the company’s first-ever female CEO. 

Announcing Management Changes

The announcement of Dy’s appointment as the next CEO came after the company’s special board meeting. There, ALI Chairman Jaime Zobel de Ayala expressed his confidence about Dy’s impact on the company in a letter to all employees.

“Meean’s extensive experience encompasses pivotal leadership roles within the Strategic Landbank Management Group. She played a key role in launching critical projects in our portfolio, such as BGC (Bonifacio Global City), Nuvali, Vertis, and Arca South. Her journey continued as she led the Residential Business Group and, more recently, assumed leadership over the Malls, Offices, and the Hotels and Resorts Group,” he wrote. 

“With Meean at the helm, I am confident that Ayala Land will continue to have a meaningful impact in all the lives and communities we touch,” he added.

“As Ayala practices deliberate and effective succession planning across its business units, next-generation leaders are given exposure to the entire Ayala ecosystem. Upon her appointment as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of ALI, Meean had since been included in the regular meetings of the Ayala Group Management Committee and involved in key decisions concerning the entire ecosystem,” the announcement letter also included. 

How She Was Picked to be the Next CEO

Dy was chosen as the worthy choice for the position after she was promoted to Executive Vice President of ALI this year. She has also been acting as the company’s Chief Operating Officer since April 2023. Prior to that, she has also been a member of ALI’s management committee since 2008. 

Even before joining ALI, she also used to be the Vice President of the Lopez family’s Benpres Holdings Corporation. 

She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Ateneo de Manila University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics (Honors Program) in 1990. She also furthered her education by obtaining a Master’s degree in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science (1991) and an MBA at the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration in Boston (1996). 

Acknowledging the Former CEO 

In the letter released by Zobel, he also acknowledged and thanked Bobby Dy’s notable contributions to the company, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

​​“During the pandemic years, Bobby guaranteed the health and safety of our employees, and supported our merchants, suppliers, and the local communities we operated in,” Zobel said. “He was at the forefront of our sustainability initiatives as he boldly implemented a 5-year plan to achieve carbon neutrality for our commercial properties, which we achieved 1 year ahead of the target,” the letter read. 

After Dy’s retirement from the CEO position, he will continue to serve as a senior adviser to Zobel. 

Every now and then, companies and massive corporations face changes in their hierarchy. Though this can imply some changes to how the operations are run, having a competitive and reliable leader helps propel a company’s trajectory. More so, it is with the help of a great visionary that great companies can succeed or maintain what has been established before.