By Krista Angela M. Montealegre, National Correspondent
THE management changes in JG Summit Holdings, Inc., owned by the country’s second richest man John L. Gokongwei, Jr., continue following the appointment of the first non-family member to head its food and beverage unit.
In a disclosure to the stock exchange on Thursday, JG Summit said the holding firm named its president Lance Y. Gokongwei as the company’s chief executive officer, a position previously held by Chairman James L. Go.
Mr. Go will retain his role as chairman.
“This is part of the group’s succession planning as well as reflection of their adherence to Chinese tradition regarding the first-born son,” PNB Securities President Manuel Antonio G. Lisbona said in a mobile phone message.
“Not discounting the contributions of the other Gokongwei children — Robina and Lisa Gokongwei have proven themselves in their own right — Lance is Mr. John’s only son and will inherit the proverbial kingdom,” Mr. Lisbona added.
On Wednesday, URC named Irwin C. Lee, who previously headed Procter and Gamble’s operations in the United Kingdom, as its new CEO, president, and director.
He will be the first non-Gokongwei family member to assume a lead management role in the company’s core business. Elfren Antonio S. Sarte heads Robinsons Bank Corp., the banking arm of JG Summit.
Mr. Lee will replace the younger Gokongwei, who will now sit as the company’s chairman.
“I think it’s a positive development given (Mr.) Lee’s expertise. This also puts the company’s day to day operations in the hands of an outsider to good use. Lance, as chairman, will now be able to focus on the long-term vision and strategy of the company,” Mr. Lisbona said.
The conglomerate also named Universal Robina Corp. Executive Vice-President Cornelio S. Mapa, Jr. as senior vice-president, corporate strategy for consumer businesses and JG Summit Chief Strategist Bach Johann M. Sebastian as senior vice-president, corporate strategy for digital, growth businesses and core investments.
JG Summit has interests in Universal Robina Corp., Robinsons Land Corp., JG Summit Petrochemical Corp., CP Air Holdings, Inc., and Robinsons Bank Corp.
The conglomerate also holds 8% interest in PLDT, Inc., 27.1% interest in Manila Electric Co., and 30% interest in Global Business Power Corp.
Shares in JG Summit added P2.25 or 3.81% to close at P61.25 apiece on Thursday.