John Gokongwei, Jr died peacefully on November 8, 2019, at the age of 93. He died at the Manila Doctor’s Hospital surrounded by loved ones.
Gokongwei Jr. was the second richest man (3rd in the list if the Sy siblings’ combined net worth is included) in the Philippines in 2019 with a US $5.3 billion.
Gokongwei Jr. was an inspiring story of a man who came from riches to rags to riches.
John Jr. was born in China but grew up in Cebu.
Gokongwei obtained his basic education at the University of San Carlos graduating valedictorian in primary school.
Gokongwei Jr. belonged to an affluent family since his father then owned a chain of movie houses in Cebu.
The thirteen-year-old John Jr. lived a good life until his father John Gokongwei Sr.’s untimely death due to health complications. The business that the family operated relied heavily on debts and was later foreclosed that left the family broke.
At a very young age of fifteen, John Jr being the eldest had to stop schooling and was forced to assist his mother to earn a living.
Using his bicycle, John Jr started by selling basic commodities in the nearby towns of Cebu.
When he was 17 years old, he began trading using a wooden boat, taking items to Lucena by sea and then to Manila by truck.
From nothing, John Gokongwei Jr left a conglomerate of businesses under his holding company, JG Summit. The businesses he owned are the driving forces in the Philippines’ economy in industries like food, telecom, aviation, banking, properties, and power distribution.
Gokongwei Jr is survived by his wife Elizabeth Yu, and six children (1 son and 5 daughters) – Lisa, Robina, Lance, Faith, Hope, and Marcia.
His only son, Lance Gokongwei is now in charge of the Gokongwei empire, serving as president and CEO.
The JG Summit Holdings empire
The JG Summit conglomerate that the Gokongwei family owns include:
- Universal Robina Corporation
- JG Summit Petrochemical Corporation
- JG Summit Olefins Corporation
- Robinsons Land Corporation (including Robinsons Malls)
- United Industrial Corporation Ltd. (Singapore) – 37% ownership
- Cebu Pacific
- Aviation Partnership Philippines – 49% ownership
- SIA Engineering (Philippines) Corporation – 35% ownership
- LIPAD Corporation (operator of Clark International Airport) – a consortium with Filinvest Development Corporation, Philippine Airport Ground Support Solutions Inc., and Changi Airports Philippines Pte. Ltd.
- Robinsons Bank Corporation
- PLDT, Inc. (8%)
- MERALCO (29.6%)
- Global Business Power Corporation (30%)
- Summit Hotels and Go Hotels
- Summit Media
- iTech Global Business Solutions, Inc.