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Business

Lance Gokongwei to lead family's retail empire

Lance Gokongwei, president and chief operating officer of JG Summit
Lance Gokongwei, president and chief operating officer of JG Summit

MANILA -- Lance Gokongwei, the only son of Filipino-Chinese taipan John, has taken over his family's retail business following the retirement of his father.

     The younger Gokongwei, 49, became the chairman and chief executive of Robinsons Retail Holdings on Mar. 18, according to a company's stock exchange filing on Monday.

     His appointment is the latest move in the succession planning of the Gokongwei group, one of the biggest and most influential conglomerates in the Philippines. The Gokongwei patriarch had previously said that his only son will head the group only after the retirement of his uncle, James Go.

     Go, brother of John, is the chairman and chief executive of the family's holding company, JG Summit Holdings, the nation's second biggest conglomerate with a market capitalization of 566 billion pesos ($12.21 billion) as of March 21.

     However, most of JG Summit's operating subsidiaries are already under the watch of Lance, who serves as the chief executive of food and beverage producer Universal Robina, budget carrier Cebu Air (Cebu Pacific), real estate developer Robinsons Land, and JG Summit Petrochemical.

     Robinsons Retail, which does not come under JG Summit, is the country's second largest retail company after SM Retail, controlled by Henry Sy, who was named by Forbes magazine as the richest man in the Philippines in 2015.

     Robinsons Retail saw its net sales grow by 12.7% to 63.3 billion pesos in its 1,466 stores from January to September 2015. The company operates department stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, hardware chains, coffee shops, drugstores, apparel shops, among others.

     Lance Gokongwei is taking over the helm amid aggressive competition in the Philippine retail market, which has been undergoing consolidation in recent years as large players gobble up smaller ones in the quest for scale and market share.

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