MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) - Rizalino Navarro, former trade secretary and former chief executive of SGV and Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC), passed away on Thursday after an apparent heart attack. He was 72.
Navarro began his career at SGV, the nation's biggest accounting firm, rising to managing director from 1982 to 1992.
He then joined the Ramos government as trade secretary. He was invited by former Finance Secretary Ramon del Rosario, his friend since they studied together at Harvard.
"I suggested Roy Navarro although I hadn't talked to Roy at that time," Del Rosario said in an ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) interview. "Fortunately, President Ramos was open-minded about it and he asked me to give Roy a phone call. Fortunately and quite surprisingly actually, he was very ready to serve the Ramos government. And it turned out extremely well because he turned out to be one of the closest advisers of President Ramos and they became actually very close personal friends."
Del Rosario said Navarro, whom he saw monthly in a group they called the Thursday Club, was always the "life of the party, full of energy, full of life, full of stories."
Navarro spent most of his post government years at the Yuchengco Group of Companies, where he headed Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. and then the EEI construction company.
Adjusted well to public office
Another former finance secretary, Roberto de Ocampo, said Navarro adjusted well to public office, and worked well there and in the private sector.
"He was one of the people from the private sector that immediately knew how to work within a more public sector setting," De Ocampo said on ANC. "He knew that a lot of the time in the public sector you had to arrive at things by consensus. And because of his personality, his zest for life, his love of interacting with people, he always managed to get the job done and he did exactly the same thing as we both ended up as colleagues in the Yuchengco group of companies."
"He was a very jolly person. He was always laughing, he'd show his emotions quite well, laugh at mistakes he'd do at the golf course," De Ocampo said.
In a statement, the Yuchengco Group of Companies said it "mourns the loss of Rizalino S. Navarro who peacefully joined his Creator before noon today."
It said Navarro left behind a "distinguished career as a professional business executive."
"Mr. Navarro will be remembered for his dedicated and committed service to YGC over the past 14 years, which allowed him to make invaluable contributions to the group's continuous growth," the Yuchengco Group of Companies said.
Navarro was also a member of the Monetary Board, non-executive chairman of Clark Development Corp. and a member of the Subic-Clark Area Development Council.
He was also chairman of Seafront Resources Corporation, Petroenergy Corporation (Petroenergy), Bankard, and a director of Grepalife, Mapua Institute of Technology, House of Investments, Malayan Insurance, YGC Corporate Services, and Upline Food Corporation. He served as a director of RCBC.
Navarro graduated cum laude from the University of the East with a degree in Business Administration.
He received his Masters in Business Administration from Harvard Business School, Harvard University. - with a report from ANC