A series of thanksgiving

BUSINESS SNIPPETS - Marianne Go - The Philippine Star

The past week has been a series of celebrations with television giant GMA 7 president and CEO Atty. Felipe Gozon, Alliance Global CEO Kevin Tan, Toyota Motor Philippines chairman Alfred Ty and JG Summit president and CEO Lance Gokongwei.

A life well lived, retirement and a new CEO

Television giant GMA 7 celebrated three momentous milestones last Saturday Dec. 9 at the EDSA Shangrila – first the 84th birthday of their beloved Atty. Felipe Gozon, then the unexpected announcement of his official retirement by the end of this year as chief executive officer of the network, and the forthcoming assumption of the GMA 7 CEO post by Jan. 1, 2024 of Gilberto Duavit Jr.

It was a night of glitz, glamor, entertainment and political hobnobbing, with no less than First Lady Liza Marcos-Araneta gracing Atty. Gozon’s grand birthday bash at the ballroon of EDSA Shangrila, in lieu of President Marcos who was still observing the last day of his quarantine after his third bout with COVID.

House Speaker Martin Romualdez also came to celebrate, along with Senators Grace Poe, Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Chiz Escudero and his wife Heart Evangelista, SM’s normally all-business, but turned fashionista Tessie Sy-Coson in a very modern Filipiniana dress with embroidered panuelo.

Of course, providing the star power were GMA power couple Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera, the John Lloyd Cruz – the only star I really asked for a photo with, Alden Richards, Michael V and several other rising GMA talents that included Julie Ann San Jose who showcased her theatrical talent in a Broadway-like musical presentation with Christian and Mark Bautista, and Thea Astley.

What was most touching was Atty. Gozon’s love story with his wife Tessie, as attested by his son, Philip, after Tessie fell sick early this year, but has been able to pull through with the army of prayers that Atty. Gozon and his family sent to storm the gates of Heaven!

In his father’s footsteps

After throwing separate big Christmas parties for the media and the Global Alliance Group, the previous week, Kevin wanted to celebrate a more intimate Christmas lunch with select lifestyle editors that included Millet Mananquil of The STAR and columnist-socialite Ana Sobrepena, Joanne Rae Ramirez of People Asia, Candy Dizon of Lifestyle Asia, ANC anchor Karen Davila and broadcast journalist and host of Rated K Korina Sanchez-Roxas, Che Che Moral of Inquirer Lifestyle, and Manila Bulletin’s lifestyle editor Arnel Patawaran.

Media bigwigs included Miguel Belmonte, president of The STAR and BusinessWorld, Manila Bulletin’s Emil Yap had to beg off due to a suspected bout with COVID, while Manila Times was ably represented by Blanca Mercado, and Esquire and the Gokongwei Group’s chief story teller Yvette Fernandez completed the special Japanese lunch that Kevin had arrranged at the Hotel Okura’s stunning Yawaragi restaurant. However, Megaworld’s Harold Geronimo had to do initial hosting duties for KLT who had to attend to a very important lunch Zoom meeting over NAIA matters before joining us for dessert and revealing (but not yet for publication) his exciting plans for Newport City that already boasts of some of the five-star hotel chains in the world which include the Marriott-Bonvoy premium signatures Marriott and Sheraton hotels, the Hilton, and Hotel Okura.

KLT has made his father, Andrew Tan, so immensely proud and relaxed, after joining the influential Private Sector Advisory Council or PSAC of President Marcos, who also constantly, along with First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos, various events of Megaworld.

The elder Tan was so celebratory and hyped up in a clip posted by Harold on social media of the Filipiniana theme Christmas part of the Alliance Global group held at the Marriott Ballroom.

For Christmas, KLT revealed that the whole Tan clan is flying off to Dubai to spend the holidays.

TMP celebrates recovery of auto industry

Toyota MotorPhilippines also held its traditional media thanksgiving with motoring reporters and some business editors at the Penthouse of the Grand Hyatt Hotel, which is the more elegant function room of the Peak and, which it turns out, according to Alfred was originally intended to be the reception room of his father, the late George Ty.

Alfred, in his speech aknowledged what the TMP Group had earlier in October already celebrated with its dealers and a select group of motoring reporters in Tokyo, Japan with the resumption of the bi-annual Tokyo Motor Show, which this year had a more inclusive theme of Japan Motor Show and included other mobility devices.

Thus, Alfred announced that the Philippine automotive sector has fully recovered from the pandemic, breaking through the pre-COVID level sales with 420,000 units compared to the 2019 actual sales of just 410,035 units, thereby posting a very significant growth of 20.6 percent in 2022.

Looking forward, Alfred revealed the group’s continuing preparation for its next generation Tamaraw, with TMP president Atsuhiro Okamoto also revealing that the Toyota Santa Rosa plant has already started retooling also for future assembly of hybrid units in the Philippines of imported CKDs or completely knocked down units.

But even with so much to celebrate this year, Alfred revealed that he and his family is opting to spend their Christmas in the country, with him and Okamotosan opting to play and enjoy golf, as Okamotosan prefers to stay in country instead of shivering in snowing Tokyo.

Lunch with Lance

The ever-low key and humble Lance, Robina and Liza Gokongwei siblings, who had started last year what they hope will be a traditional Christmas media lunch with top executives and editors of the country’s broadsheet publication, welcomed their media partners this time at their latest hotel offering, the Westin Manila to report on the progress of their various companies.

Among the most exciting an promising to me is the merger of Robinsons Bank with the Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Island, and what Robinsons Bank is bringing to the table – which is their banking app - RBank Digital – which users have praised for being quick and efficient and which would be a possible game changer for BPI which has experienced some complaints from BPI users for some glitchy transactions.

I was teasing Lance that he is now fulfilling what his Dad, Mr. John, previously had faced resistance in bring change to the country’s then leading institutions.

Lance is also among the inner business advisers of the President.

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