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FINALLY: Robina Gokongwei-Pe Is First Woman on Xavier School's Board of Trustees

The entrepreneur is the first woman on the board in the school's 62-year history.
IMAGE WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / IAN SANTOS
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Robina Gokongwei-Pe, president, CEO, and director of Robinsons Retail Holdings, has been appointed a member of the board of trustees at Xavier School, the first female board member in the school’s 62-year history.

Gokongwei-Pe’s appointment comes at a very significant time for Xavier School, as its recently opened campus in Nuvali offers a flexible coeducational school.

“We are one of the last all-male Jesuit school boards in the Philippines,” Fr. Aristotle C. Dy, SJ, president of Xavier School tells Town&Country in an interview. “It is therefore high time to include a woman. When a seat became available, we grabbed the opportunity to introduce more diversity in our Board. We also recognized that we already have female students and alums in our Nuvali campus, and therefore it’s very important to have a woman’s perspective in our Board.”

In addition to heading Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc., Gokongwei-Pe serves as non-executive director of JG Summit Holdings, Inc., director of Cebu Air, Inc., Robinsons Land Corporation, and Robinsons Bank Corporation. She holds a degree in journalism from New York University.

Fr. Aristotle C. Dy, SJ cites Gokongwei-Pe’s business experience as a valuable resource for the school’s financial concerns.

“This is something all lay board members can contribute. Robina’s education abroad, experience in University of the Philippines, and wide knowledge of the world in the 21st century will introduce a fresh perspective to the Board,” he says.

The board has the power to appoint the school president and administrative officers. It is also responsible for the “acquisition, conservation, management, and disposition of school funds and properties in accordance with the laws of the Republic of the Philippines, of the Catholic Church, and of the Society of Jesus.” Members have a word on the annual budget of the school, policies of investment, various educational policies, and major organizational changes, to name a few.

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Most of Xavier School’s trustees have been Jesuits while the seats for lay members have usually been occupied by alumni from the business, finance, and education sectors.

Currently, the corporation and board members are composed of Xavier School chairman Johnip G. Cua, president Fr. Aristotle C. Dy, SJ, Jesuit provincial superior is Fr. Primitivo Viray, Jr., SJ, as well as Fr. Arturo M. Borja, SJ, Fr. Joseph Haw, SJ, Fr. Anthony Ceasar C. Pabayo, SJ, Fr. Guy Peter V. Guibelondo, SJ, Fr. Manuel A. Uy, SJ, Fr. Xavier L. Olin, SJ, Fr. Peter O. Pojol, SJ, Rodolfo P. Ang, Manuel Fong, Jr., Francis Chua, Jacinto C. Ng, Jr., Fr. Cesar Marin, SJ, Fr. Maximo Barbero, SJ, Fr. Emerito dela Rama, SJ, Fr. Nemesio Que, SJ, Fr. Jose Mari Sumpaico, SJ, Ambassador Bienvenido L. Tan, Miguel Tan, and Carlos Chung.

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Paolo Chua
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