Businessman, diplomat Manuel ‘Manolo’ Lopez; 80
Manuel “Manolo” Lopez, one of the country’s leading businessmen and a former ambassador to Japan, died on Jan. 12. He was 80. Lopez had served in several companies in his family’s conglomerate, including as chair emeritus since 2020 of Lopez Holdings Corp.—whose subsidiaries include ABS-CBN Corp., First Philippine Holdings Corp., First Balfour Inc., First Philippine Industrial Corp., Rockwell Land Corp., First Philippine Industrial Park and First Philec Corp.
He was a director at the holding firm since 1993 and was also vice chair from 2001 to 2010, then chair and CEO until 2020. Lopez was also a director at ABS-CBN Corp. and ABS-CBN Holdings Corp.
In his diverse career in business, Lopez served the longest in the energy sector as president of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) from 1986 to 2001 and chair until 2012.He was CEO of the company as well from 2001 to 2010 and was a director until 2018.
Addressing its stockholders in 2012, Lopez said: “As I step down as your chairman, it is with a great sense of fulfillment and pride that I have seen the significant expansion of Meralco’s franchise [and] the tremendous growth of our customer base and electricity sales volume … since Meralco’s transfer to Filipino ownership and management in 1962.”
He drew praise, too, in other areas of business. Rockwell Land, in a statement on Friday, said “Chairman Lopez has been an integral part of [our company’s] history and we will continue to emulate his leadership [which] put value on people.”
“He was best loved for his ‘[pagma]malasakit’ (compassion), a leadership brand we were inspired to take on. His vision will live on in the hearts of people whose lives he touched,” the company also said.
As Philippine ambassador to Japan from 2010 to 2016, Lopez helped foster stronger relations between the two countries, particularly on trade and investments.
By the end of that stint, Japan conferred on him the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, while the Philippines-Japan Society awarded him its Medal of Merit.
Lopez earned his bachelor of science degree in business administration from the University of the East. Soon after that, he attended Harvard Business School’s Program for Management Development.
He is survived by his wife Maritess; children and in-laws Maita and Jorge, Beaver, Mike and Chris, and Mark and Connie; and grandchildren Isabella, Bettina, Miguel, Martina, Manu, Andreas, Jack and Luis.
His wake at Heritage Memorial Park will be held until Jan. 16. A memorial service is scheduled the next day.
Lopez’s family has requested that instead of flowers, mourners donate to his favorite charities Mary’s Way Foundation Inc. and ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation Inc.
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