Gokongwei retires as chair of Robinsons Retail

Iris Gonzales - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Taipan John Gokongwei Jr., the country’s second richest man according to Forbes,  has stepped down as chairman and CEO of Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc. (RRHI), which is in charge of the family’s retail business which include supermarkets and household brands Toys “R” Us, True Value, and Mini Stop.

His only son Lance Gokongwei, 49, took his place on March 18, while his brother James Go remains as vice chairman.  Go is the chairman and CEO of JG Summit Holdings as of March 21.

Gokongwei, who will turn 90 years old on Aug. 11, has promised to retire when he reaches 90 and just focus on his philantrophic work.

In a rare chat with reporters in December last year, Gokongwei said Lance was doing a good job running the family-owned business empire.

The elder Gokongwei, however, will remain chairman of the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation, which was launched in 1992 with his three brothers. It has helped schools such as Ateneo, La Salle and soon the University of the Philippines.

Gokongwei, who was born in China to Filipino parents,  arrived in Cebu as a one year old toddler. He then built his multi-billion dollar empire in Cebu by trading goods off on a bicycle and on board a small boat off the pier of the province.

For someone turning 90, Gokongwei said the only thing he could ask for himself is good health.

RRHI reported a net income of P3.12 billion in the first nine months of 2015, up 18.8 percent year on year as net sales rose 12.7 percent to P63.3 billion.

As of the end of September last year, RRHI had a total of 1,466 stores with the addition of  208 new stores. This translated to a 10.7 percent increase in gross floor area to approximately 939,00 square meters over a year ago.

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