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Mr. John Lim Gokongwei Jr. peacefully dies at 93

Filipino business tycoon John Gokongwei Jr. dies at the age of 93.

John Lim Gokongwei Jr. or known as Mr. John or Big John is a Filipino businessman and philanthropist that has holdings in telecommunications, financial services, petrochemicals, power generation, aviation, food, beverage, and livestock farming.

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Mr. John Gokongwei Jr. (

He was not called Mr. John or Big John for nothing. He is the founder and retired Chairman of JG Summit Holdings, Inc. – one of the largest conglomerates in the Philippines, and two of its units.

His passing was announced by his son Lance Gokongwei. “Our beloved husband, father and grandfather John Gokongwei Jr., passed away peacefully 11:41 P.M. on November 9 at the Manila Doctors Hospital surrounded by his loved one,” Lance said.

His father died when he was 13 years old. From the age of 17-19, he traded using a wooden boat, taking items to Dalahican, Lucena by sea, and then to Manila by truck to initially support his family.

He started his own company called Amasia Trading after the Second World War. His company imports flour, onions, fruits, used clothing, old newspaper and magazines form the United States.

In the year 1957, Gokongwei entered the manufacturing industry. With a loan of 500,000 pesos from Albino Sycip, then Chairman of China Bank, and DK Chiong, John started a corn milling plant producing glucose and corn starch.

The company was named Universal Corn Products and later named as Universal Robina Corporation (URC). In 1961, Universal Robina Corporation started to launch brands like Blend 45. After all the success, John returned to school to study and acquired an MBA at the De La Salle University and later attended a 14-week advanced management program at Harvard.

In 2010, John’s company signed a $3 billion order with Airbus for re-fleeting of his airline, Cebu Pacific Air. Form 2003 his telecom company Digital Telecommunications Philippines spent nearly $800 million for its mobile carrier Sun Cellular.

In 2013, his company bought a stake of San Miguel Corporation in MERALCO. In 2014, his company URC acquired Griffin’s Foods from Pacific Equity Partners.

“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 Philippine multinational conglomerate a philanthropist with a passion for education,” said in a statement.

“The Place expresses its deep condolences to the family, the surviving wife Elizabeth, Children Lance, Robina, Lisa, Faith, Hope and Marcia, friends and colleagues of Mr. John Gokongwei, Jr.,” President Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

“Mr. Gokongwei was an exceptional and ideal Filipino. He Exemplifies the traits that should endow us: industrious, disciplined, indefatigable, creative, generous, always hungry for knowledge, grateful and never forgetting his origins, and most of all, a loving person to his family and his country,” Panelo added.

Friends and colleagues of Mr. Joh Gokongwei also expressed their condolences to the family Gokongwei.

Mr. John Lim Gokongwei’s wake will be held at the Heritage Park in Taguig City from November 11 to 14, 2019.