John L. Gokongwei Jr. - a Leadership Article

Topics: JG Summit Holdings, John Gokongwei, Universal Robina Pages: 5 (1453 words) Published: December 9, 2011
John L. Gokongwei Jr.

Who is he?

“Call it trite--but, believe me, success can be achieved, through hard work, frugality, integrity, responsiveness to change--and most of all, boldness to dream. These have never been just easy slogans for me. I have lived by them” Gokongwei Jr., John L., Commencement Address (AdMU), 27 March 2004.

Ranked by Forbes Asia as the third richest entrepreneur of the Philippines in the year 2010, John L. Gokongwei Jr., is a Chinese-Filipino business man who was born on August 11, 1926 had spent his childhood in Cebu, Philippines. He earned an MBA Degree from De La Salle University and attended the Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program. He was included in the list of Heroes of Philanthropy by the Forbes Asia’s Magazine of 2008 along with his three fellow Filipino business men namely Oscar Lopez, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and Ramon Del Rosario. Gokongwei is the founder and chairman emeritus of John Gokongwei Summit Holdings Inc. (JS Summit Holdings Inc.), one of the largest conglomerates in the Philippines competing with well-known companies such as SM Malls and Ayala. JG Summit Holdings Inc. core businesses are: Universal Robina Corporation, Robinsons Land Corporation, United Industrial Corporation of Singapore, Digital Telecommunications Philippines Inc., JG Summit Petrochemicals Corporation, Cebu Pacific Air, Robinsons Savings Bank and JG Summit Capital Services Corporation.

What made him a leader?

The qualities that Gokongwei possesses made him a successful business tycoon. He is a type of person who is a risk-taker; he was never afraid to take the next steps for his empire to grow. He is an optimistic person, failures and mistakes were never a barrier for him, he always try to have a healthy attitude towards failure, it’s a part of being an entrepreneur which is clearly stated in his quote:

“Success doesn't happen overnight. It's the small successes achieved day by day that build a company. So, don't be impatient or focused on immediate financial rewards."

In addition, he never denied that some of his business strategies were taken from other businesses but he believes creativity and innovation are more important factors. And lastly he inspires people by delivering speeches about his life. He never fails to encourage youth to become entrepreneurs. He has been invited a number of times in the past to deliver speech in university commencement exercises.

When he became a leader and where it happened?

He strongly believed that entrepreneurship is a calling as he says in his statement:

“What propels me is not the money I made, although that has been great. Nor is it even the satisfaction of helping my countrymen. Entrepreneurship, for me, is a path to a life lived to the fullest. It is a road strewn with challenges that constantly tested my character. For those who want a life of adventure, this is it.”

His leadership story began during his teenage years when he started as market vendor. He also ventured into other businesses such as trading goods until Universal Corn Products (UCP), later called Universal Robina Corporation (URC), was established in the year 1957 to operate as a cornstarch manufacturing company in Manila, Philippines.In 1961, the Gokongwei’s Consoliadated Corporation introduced Blend 45 coffee which is a substitute for the expensive coffee of Nestle’s Nescafe. Robinsons Land Corporation was incorporated in 1980. Robinsons flagship mall, Robinson’s Galleria opened in 1990. He also had interests in real estate thus he invested in United Industrial Corporation Limited (UIC), a Singapore listed company. In 1987, Gokongwei owned 47.45% of Digital Telecommunications, Inc. With these businesses as foundation, Gokongwei established JG Summit Holdings in the year 1990, and went public in 1993. That is when he was formally recognized locally and internationally as one of the successful business tycoons.

Why it happened?...
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