Taipan and ex-ambassador Alfonso Yuchengco dies at 94

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 17) — Alfonso Yuchengco, founding chairman of the Yuchengco Group of Companies (YGC), died on April 16 at the age of 94.

He is survived by his eight children, six from his first wife Paz Sycip, and two from his late second wife Teresita Gomez.

Yuchengco, the youngest of five siblings and the only son, was born on February 6, 1923. His father Don Enrique had thriving businesses in rice trading, lumber, and construction in the 1920s and ventured into insurance with the China Insurance and Surety Company in the 1930s.

Yuchengco expanded the family business by setting up Great Pacific Life Insurance Co. or Grepalife, YGC's life-insurance arm.

He then put up the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation or RCBC in 1960, becoming its chairman from 1963 to 1995. Yuchengco was also chairman emeritus of RCBC since Aug. 30, 2016.

Yuchengco was chairman and chief executive officer of Pan Malayan Management and Investment Corporation, and honorary chairman of the board of MICO Equities, the holding company of the Malayan Group of Companies and YGC.

He also chaired the boards of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, Philippine Fuji Xerox, Benguet Corp., the Bank of America Savings Bank, and Asia's Emerging Dragon Corporation, among others.

In 1992, Yuchengco was named Management Man of the Year by the Management Association of the Philippines.

Long-time diplomat; adviser to presidents

Yuchengco was also a diplomat, serving as ambassador to China from 1986 to 1988 and ambassador to Japan from 1995 to 1998.

He was also Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2001 to 2002, and served as the country's special envoy to China, Japan, and South Korea in 2001.

Yuchengco was awarded the Gold and Silver Star of the Order of the Sacred Treasure by the Emperor of Japan in 1993 and named Outstanding Manilan in Diplomacy by the Manila City government in 1995.

Then-President Fidel Ramos also appointed Yuchengco as chairman of the Council of Private Sector Advisers to the Philippine government on the Spratlys issue.

Later on, former President Joseph Estrada named him presidential assistant on matters concerning the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, a post he held from 1998 to 2000, while President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appointed him Presidential Adviser on Foreign Affairs in 2004.

Yuchengco's wake will begin Tuesday, April 18 at the Santuario de San Antonio in Makati City.