John Gokongwei Jr is MAP man of the year 2017

MANILA, Philippines – John Gokongwei Jr, one of the country’s enduring business icons, added yet another feather to his cap as he was named the Management Association of the Philippines’ (MAP) Man of the Year for 2017.

The JG Summit Incorporated founder and Chairman Emeritus and the country's 2nd richest man  now adds this award to the ASEAN Business Legacy award he garnered this September.

MAP’s Man of the Year award is a prestigious award that the organization confers on individuals in the business community or government for attaining unquestioned distinction in the practice of management and for contributing to the country’s progress.

In a statement on Tuesday, October 24, MAP said that the entrepreneur “was chosen 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”.

Another reason MAP cited was his “leadership in making the Gokongwei’s Group a substantial contributor to national development," and indeed, the firms he has founded is weaved into the daily lives of millions of Filipinos.

The Gokongwei Group of Companies 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.

Besides those firms, JG summit also holds an 8% stake in the country's largest telco PLDT, a 30% stake in the country’s largest power distributor Meralco, and a 37% stake in Singapore-listed United Industrial Corporation, the parent firm of Singapore Land.

JG Summit was listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange in 1993 with an estimated market capitalization of $135 million, which grew to an estimated $1.8 billion in 2007 as it celebrated its 50th anniversary. Today, its market capitalization stands at over $10 billion.

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.

MAP also lauded Gokongwei "for strengthening the identity of companies under the Gokongwei Group as socially responsible corporate citizens through the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation’s developmental and scholarship programs on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education."

Gokongwei, the group added, was chosen as "an entrepreneur par excellence and an exemplar of Filipino talent… and his contributions to shared national values has inspired others [via] his outstanding achievements attained from humble beginnings  through hard work, perseverance, frugality and discipline."

All-star list

With the award, Gokongwei joins a veritable who’s who of Philippine business with MAP noting that the distinction is not to be taken lightly, as it has only been given out 41 times in 50 years.

The very first recipient of the award, in 1967, was another iconic figure in the business community: SGV and Co. founder Washington Sycip, who passed away earlier this month at the age of 96.

More recent recipients of the award include Ayala Corporation Chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala (2006) and SM Investments Corporation Vice-Chairperson and heir apparent Teresita Sy-Coson (2016).

Notable public servants who have also won the distinction include former Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas governor Amando Tetangco Jr and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario. – Rappler.com