I LAST met Fernando Zobel de Ayala when he chaired the virtual meeting of BPI's personnel and compensation committee. Soon after that, he and his brother, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala (JAZA), even went in person to deliver their respective eulogies during the wake of former President Fidel Valdez Ramos. So I was most surprised and saddened when I learned last Monday that Fernando suddenly resigned just the day before as President and CEO of Ayala Corporation. Without mentioning specifics, Fernando said he was taking a medical leave. The resignation took place during an emergency Sunday meeting of the Ayala board. In the same meeting, the Ayala board elected Cezar "Bong" Consing, as acting president and CEO for the duration of Fernando's medical leave.

Consing is a director at Ayala, Bank of the Philippine Islands, Globe Telecom Inc. and ACEN Corp. He has served as senior managing director of Ayala and was president and CEO of BPI from 2013 to 2021.

In the following days, Fernando also resigned from his executive positions in various Ayala subsidiaries. At BPI, his resignation as Vice Chairman of the board was regretfully accepted during BPI's board meeting last Wednesday. At around that time, Fernando just landed safely in a foreign airport to begin his medical rehabilitation. JAZA described Fernando to be "in high spirit."

An outpouring of prayers and good wishes for the early recovery of Fernando ensued, as well as expressions of support for Bong Consing, BPI's immediate past president, as he pursues his new lead roles in Ayala Corporation.

Almost two years ago, we were likewise saddened during a board meeting at Bank of Philippine Islands (BPI) when Chairman JAZA announced the sudden resignation of Xavier P. Loinaz both from the BPI and Ayala boards. Citing health reasons, Loinaz earlier expressed his gratitude for his 40 years as part of management and the board, very kindly calling his time in BPI as "the best years of his life."

The good news is that Loinaz is now reported to have made a full recovery. In one group chat post, Loinaz's wife Mert even reported that Loinaz is now able to drive himself around in Makati.

During the BPI board meeting last Wednesday, the board accepted the resignation of Director Eli B. Remolona, who has been an independent director of BPI since April 2019.

Remolona is joining BSP governor Philip Medalla, former BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno, who now heads the economic team of President Marcos as finance secretary, former trade secretary Peter Favila, former Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. vice chairman and president Antonio Abacan Jr., former agriculture undersecretary and International Rice Research Institute deputy director general Bruce Tolentino, and former Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. director Anita Linda Aquino.

Remolona spent most his career in central banking, 14 years of it at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and 19 years at the Bank for International Settlements in Basel and Hong Kong.

The following day, Remolona joined his first BSP policy meeting during which the monetary board, as expected, raised the policy rate by another 50 bps.

From the monetary board meeting, Governor Philip Medalla proceeded to Grand Hyatt later in the evening to join former monetary board members in a dinner hosted by Monetary Board member Peter Favila. Former MBMs included former BSP Governor Amando "Say" Tetangco Jr., Freddie Antonio, Jun de Zuñiga and this writer. It was a delayed testimonial dinner for Medalla on his assumption as BSP governor.

Coincidentally, all the attendees, with the exception of Peter Favila, revealed that they at one time or another tested positive for Covid-19. All were asymptomatic but had to isolate themselves.

All had a good time reminiscing memorable moments when the Monetary board had to pull the trigger on errant banks and the various suits (one of the risks of the trade) filed against MB members by closed institutions. Coming home from an out of town engagement, MBMs Favila, Antonio, Bunye and Raul Boncan did not stay longer than necessary in Milaor whose rural bank was shuttered by the MB just a week before.

The new P1,000 polymer bill can fit in an regular-size wallet and can survive ordinary folding. Gov. Tetangco pulled out a polymer bill from his own wallet to demonstrate his point. There is no need to use a longer wallet as Governor Medalla once jokingly quipped.

Asked if he would entertain joining a bank, since he has long served his curing off period, "Never" was the quick reply of Gov. Tetangco, as he does not relish the idea of being audited and asked to explain by BSP examiners who were once his subordinates.

Governor Philip Medalla, is serving the unexpired term of former Governor Ben Diokno, and is eligible to be re-appointed for his own six-year term at a later time. "But right now, I just would like to focus on implementing the BSP's principal price stability mandate," Medalla said.