MANILA -- Billionaire Lucio Tan's son and namesake died on Monday after collapsing during a basketball game two days prior, his sister said. He was 53.
Nicknamed Bong, Lucio Tan Jr, assumed the presidency of Philippine Airlines (PAL) holding firm two weeks before his death. He held top positions in family-controlled LT Group, Tanduay, and Philippine National Bank.
“His untimely passing leaves a big void in our hearts and our Group's management team which would be very hard to fill,” said his sister, Vivienne Tan.
In a March 2017 interview with ANC, Tan Jr talked about the importance of reaching out to millennials, including the 160-year-old liquor-maker Tanduay's partnership with Barclay's Center, the home of the Brooklyn Nets.
"Tanduay is not just an old, traditional drink. Tanduay is a new fad," he said. The "perfect" Tanduay concoction, he said, involved freezing the whole bottle and mixing the rhum with cola and calamansi.
In an interview with the Philippine Star in September 2018, Tan Jr said his father taught him to be "always on time," arriving 5 minutes ahead of schedule.
Tan Jr took to shuttling between appointments on a helicopter like his father, adding the family patriarch "saved the equivalent of seven years of traffic hours by doing so."
"He was very strict, no baloney. He was always busy, never wasting time. He was always teaching us," Tan Jr said of his father.
Asked what he learned from his taipan father, Tan Jr said: "Everything. How to be a good student, a good person. What to expect, how to prepare yourself in school, in society, in the business world. How to judge people and understand people."
Tan Jr, who listed Singapore's beloved Prime Minister Lee Kwan Yew and Alibaba founder Jack Ma as among his idols, said success came with a lot of pressure.
"You have to maintain and grow the business, and you have to give back, learn to share... It’s a cliche, but the higher you are, the deeper you fall. We were taught by my dad to be cost-conscious, to be frugal, not to be extravagant," he said.
Tan Jr earned his Civil Engineering degree from the University of California, Davis in the US and a Master of Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management of Northwest University – School of Business and Management, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.