• Banking taipan Al Yuchengco dead at 94

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    YUCHENGCO Group of Companies founding chairman Alfonso “Al” Yuchengco died on Saturday, a company under the conglomerate announced on Monday. He was 94 years old.

    “Our bank is mourning the untimely demise of our chairman emeritus, Ambassador Alfonso T. Yuchengco, who passed away last Saturday, April 15, 2017,” Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) said in a disclosure to Philippine Stock Exchange.

    RCBC did not provide further details.

    In an email to its members, the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) said details of Yuchengco’s wake and interment would be announced soon. Yuchengco was MAP’s Management Man of the Year in 1992.
    Yuchengco was a descendant of Chinese migrants from Fujian province who established a lumber and construction business in Manila in the early 1900s.

    The family patriarch, Enrique, expanded into real estate and insurance, and passed on the chairmanship of his flagship Malayan Insurance to his son Alfonso in 1953.

    In 1967, Alfonso became chairman of RCBC and established a strong base among Chinese-Filipino clients.
    RCBC and Malayan form the nucleus of the diversified Yuchengco Group that now includes construction giant EEI Corp., Mapua Institute of Technology and Malayan Colleges, Honda car dealerships and Manila Memorial Park.

    Yuchengco was a certified public accountant and an alumnus of Far Eastern University. He also took graduate studies at Columbia University in New York.

    Yuchengco was a vocal critic of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos and became a member of the “Light-A-Fire” movement that was suspected by the Martial Law regime of being behind bombing and assassination plots.

    He was also a diplomat, having served as Philippine permanent representative to the United Nations under President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, envoy to Japan under President Fidel Ramos and envoy to China under President Corazon Aquino. He was appointed presidential adviser on foreign affairs in 2004, and presidential special envoy to China, Japan and Korea in 2001.

    Yuchengco was a member of the Board of Overseers at Columbia Business School, trustee of the University of San Francisco, and trustee emeritus of Asia Society.

    Yuchengco made headlines in 2005 when he shelled out P250 million of his own money to assist plan holders of failed pre-need firm Pacific Plans.

    Last year, RCBC figured in an $81-million heist in which Bangladesh Bank money in the New York Federal Reserve found its way to RCBC, a remittance firm, and local casinos.

    In accepting the Management Man of the Year award in 1992, Yuchengco said: “Honor has no price. I prefer to lose millions of pesos than to have my reputation tainted in any way.”

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