(The founder of 7-Eleven operator Philippine Seven Corp. and former Senator Vicente T. Paterno died on Friday. His family released a statement that included an obituary, which was written by Paterno himself.)
Vicente T. Paterno passed away peacefully in his sleep this morning, surrounded by his family. He was 89.
His health had deteriorated as he advanced into his late eighties, but he took these setbacks in stride and continued to work on his various advocacies as best he could. His final effort was to be the publication of his autobiography, On My Terms, which he wrote for his grandchildren.
He also wrote his own obituary, which includes:
Senator, ‘87-‘92; Chairman, Board of Investments ‘70-’74,
Minister, of Industry ‘74-‘79, of Public Highways ‘79-’80;
Founding Chairman Philippine Seven Corp. from October 1982.
He often spoke about his life in terms of three tracks, moving through them by following his gut but accepting his fate: employment in the corporate sector, civil service, and entrepreneurship.
His civil service career spanned two administrations, from 1970 to 1992. From 1970 to 1974 he served as Chairman of the Board of Investments, then Minister of Industry from 1974-79 where he crafted local industrial policy and built trade relations within Asean and China. He moved on to Minister of Public Highways until November 1980. He also served as an elected representative of the Batasang Pambansa, resigning from the KBL in November 1983 after he criticized the administration's response to Ninoy Aquino's assassination. He served as chairman of Namfrel for Metro Manila in the 1986 presidential elections. He was Deputy Executive Secretary for Energy from April 1986 to February 1987. He was also the Chairman of the Philippine National Oil Company from March 1986 to February 1987. At the request of President Cory Aquino, he ran and was elected Senator of the Philippines, serving from July 1987 to June 1992.
He started his career in the corporate sector after graduating with distinction from the Harvard Business School in 1952, most significantly as the first general manager of Phinma and the first Filipino treasurer of Meralco before he succeeded Minister Cesar Virata at the BOI.
He started Philippine Seven Corporation with his brother-in-law Titoy Pardo in 1982 as he sought a retirement business as unregulated by the government he had just left as possible, investing the million pesos he had received in fire insurance from his pizza franchise. Today, Philippine Seven has over 1,200 7-Eleven convenience stores from Ilocos to Cebu.
In recent years he served as an Independent Director for different companies such as City Resources Phil Corp., Benpres Holdings Corp., of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., Cityland Development Corp. and of First Philippine Holdings, though he resigned these posts as his health failed.
He received several awards, including 1982 MAP Management Man of the year (which he shared with his good friend Jaime Ongpin), the Order of the Sacred Treasure from the Emperor of Japan for his role in opening economic relations, and the 2013 Ramon V. del Rosario award for nation building.
He is survived by his wife Baby, his children Judy, Mailin, Maite, Victor and Tina, and his eight grandchildren.