ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailMenu BurgerPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon SearchSite TitleTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Companies

Philippines' Universal Robina appoints first outsider CEO

Expanding food and beverage group announces rare management reorganization

JG Summit chief executive Lance Gokongwei wants his Philippine conglomerate to focus on a few high value big bets. (Photo by Lester Babiera)

MANILA -- Philippine food and beverage producer Universal Robina has appointed an outsider as its chief executive in a rare organizational shake-up in the company controlled by the influential Gokongwei family.

Irwin Lee will assume the CEO role starting May 14, becoming the first member outside of the family to hold that position. He replaces Lance Gokongwei, son of chairman emeritus and founder John Gokongwei, who will assume the position of chairman. Incumbent Chair James Go, John's younger brother, will become chairman emeritus, according to a stock exchange filing on Wednesday.

Lee is currently the CEO of Rustan Supercenters, an upscale grocery store chain that recently merged with Gokongwei-led Robinsons Retail Holdings. Lee previously held senior roles at McKinsey & Co. and Procter & Gamble as CEO for United Kingdom, Ireland and Northern Europe. His experience abroad could help Universal Robina's bid to become a global player.

Universal Robina, which has manufacturing facilities in Southeast Asia, has expanded in New Zealand and Australia in recent years.

The reorganization at Universal Robina comes as the Gokongwei family is grooming Lance to become the next leader of JG Summit Holdings, the family's listed holding company, under their succession plan.

Lance is currently the president and chief operating officer of JG Summit while his uncle serves as the chairman. A reorganization at the parent company could signal the completion of the succession plan.

JG Summit, the Philippines' third largest conglomerate by market capitalization, also has interests in real estate, airline, petrochemical and banking, and has equity investments in telecoms and power.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Get Unlimited access

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends May 26th

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media