Business

Kapit kay Kapitan! Last of the taipans Lucio Tan takes on quadfecta posts in PAL Holdings as flag carrier faces extinction

At 86 years of age, bilyonaryo Lucio Tan should be enjoying retirement after working so hard to build one of the country’s business empires since starting Fortune Tobacco more than a half century ago.

But the oldest among Filipino dollar billionaires has assumed the top four posts in the holding firm of Philippine Airlines which is on the verge of bankruptcy.

During its annual stockholders meeting on July 24, PAL Holdings Inc. board named Tan as its chairman, president, CEO and COO.

PAL Holdings director Gilbert Sta. Maria, who replaced PAL’s long-time president in July 2019, used to be president and COO of the airlines’ holding firm.

Sta. Maria resigned as PAL Holdings president in October 2019 to give way to Tan’s son, Bong Tan, but remained as its COO. When Bong died a month later, Tan took over as PAL Holdings president. Eight months later, Tan replaced Sta. Maria as PAL Holdings COO.

The “Kapitan’s” quadfecta power move has come after his daughter, Vivienne, and son, John, blindsided him by withdrawing from the PAL Holdings board just two days before the annual meeting.

PAL Holdings admitted it “has not yet been able to review the eligibility and qualification of additional candidates for directors to take the place “ of Vivienne, John, and independent director, Mark Chen.

This is why PAL Holding only had eight of the 11 board seats filled – Tan; his wife, Carmen; his son-in-law, Joseph T. Chua; his apo, Lucio “Hunhun” Tan III; Santa Maria; Ryuhei Maeda; Johnip Cua; and Gregorio T. Yu.

PAL has lost a whopping P32.63 billion since 2017 of which nearly a third or P10.7 billion was incurred in the first three months of this year.

Tan, who retook PAL from San Miguel boss Ramon S. Ang in 2014, has already injected P16 billion in cash PAL since 2019 and it looks like
he’ll have to dig deeper into his pockets to keep PAL afloat through the new normal unless President Rodrigo Duterte comes forward to rescue the airline with massive government funds.

Family board room turbulence: Lucio Tan’s daughter, son quit PAL board

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