Tycoon John Gokongwei Jr dies, 93

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – John L. Gokongwei Jr, the man who built one of the most diversified conglomerates in the Philippines, died Saturday night, November 9. He was 93.  

Esquire Philippines, a Gokongwei-owned publication, reported this early Sunday, November 10, quoting a text message from Gokongwei's only son, Lance. 

"Our beloved husband, father, and grandfather John Gokongwei Jr passed away peacefully 11:41 pm, November 9th, at the Manila Doctors Hospital surrounded by his loved ones. Please pray for the repose of his soul," Esquire Philippines quoted Lance Gokongwei’s message.

The 3rd richest man in the Philippines in 2019 with an estimated net worth of $5.3 billion, Gokongwei founded the Gokongwei Group of Companies, which includes the holding firm JG Summit, which is the parent firm of airline Cebu Pacific, food manufacturer Universal Robina Corporation, real estate company Robinsons Land, Robinsons Bank, JG Petrochemicals, and Global Business Power. (READ: John Gokongwei proves family-run conglomerates work)

Gokongwei is also the founder of Robinsons Retail Holdings Incorporated (RRHI), the second largest retailer in the country which features department stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, hardware stores, pharmacies, coffee chains, and specialty shops.

Some of the well-known brands under RRHI include Robinsons Supermarket and Department Store, Ministop, Toys'R'Us, True Value, True Home, South Star Drug, The Generics Pharmacy, Topshop, Shiseido, and Benefit.

"We, the 75,000-strong employees of JG Summit Holdings and Robinsons Retail Holdings, join the nation in paying tribute to the founder of the first Philippine multinational conglomerate, a philanthropist with a passion for education," said JG Summit and RRHI in a joint statement on Sunday.

"Mr. John, as we fondly called him, was a visionary. He was an inspiration to entrepreneurs and businessmen around the nation, with his pioneering ideas, his strong work ethic, his passion, and perseverance."

The Management Association of the Philippines named him Man of the Year in 2017 “due to his business acumen and management qualities which steered the Gokongwei Group into remarkable growth through his foresight and exceptional ability to launch new ventures and transform existing ones to better adapt to challenging times and an unpredictable future.”

He was also recognized for his "leadership in making the Gokongwei Group a substantial contributor to national development."

Gokongwei is survived by his wife of 61 years, Elizabeth, and his children Robina, Lance, Lisa, Faith, Hope, and Marcia; his in-laws and grandchildren; brothers Eddie and James Go, sister Lily; and his nieces and nephews.

JG Summit said Gokongwei's wake will be held from Monday, November 11, to Thursday, November 14, from 12 pm to 10 pm at Heritage Park in Taguig City.

The funeral Mass will be on Friday, November 15, at 8 am at Heritage Park.

"In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to your favorite charity," said JG Summit. – Rappler.com