Greg Navarro: A light that will never go out
The late Gregorio Santillan Navarro was a solid fixture in Philippine business circles.
He was involved in numerous corporations and nongovernment organizations, serving at various times in several capacities such as president of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (Finex) and Management Association of the Philippines (Map), vice president of the Atlantic Gulf & Pacific Company of Manila, Inc., member of the board of visitors of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), fellow of the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) and the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA), member of the Philippine Financial Reporting Standards Council, and trustee of the CIBI Foundation, to name a few.
His seatmate at the University of the East, Wilson Young, fondly remembers Greg as a low-key but bright student. Greg also braved the “terror professors” deftly avoided by students.
Despite being under age, he placed second in his batch in the 1976 Certified Public Accountants (CPA) board exams. He established a name for himself in the accounting industry and rose to become the managing partner and CEO of Punongbayan & Araullo and chair of Navarro Amper & Co.
Veteran CPA Cora de la Paz-Bernardo adds, “we, Filipino CPAs, are proud to claim him as our own.”
At the backbone of Greg’s lengthy and impressive resume was his staunch advocacy for good corporate governance in the Philippines. In the words of corporate governance (CG) stalwart Francis Estrada, he was “an early CG advocate and built strong relationships in the CG community.”
He was a fellow of the ICD and assisted in training and developing case studies in ethics and good governance. He was also a pioneer member of the Shareholders’ Association of the Philippines (SharePHIL).
As president of the Integrity Initiatives Inc., Greg championed projects geared toward fighting corruption across different sectors.
His unwavering idealism and zest for the public good are also reflected in his dedication to do pro bono work (volunteer work). Former Defense Secretary Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro recounts Greg was part of the advisory group on the Armed Forces of the Philippines Retirement and Separation Benefits System (AFP-RSBS) during his days in the Department of National Defense. Indeed, Greg is a testament that one can do public service without holding public office.
People privileged enough to know Greg will attest to his wit and humor. He was an emcee par excellence. He had a special talent for making funny comments without being insulting or offensive. He could break even the stiffest of audiences.
In a recent testimonial by the business community in honor of former Bangko Sentral Governor Amando Tetangco, Jr., the diplomats around our table, usually prim and proper, broke into laughter several times because of the comments made by Greg during the proceedings.
To add levity to SharePHIL’s annual summit in August, we made Greg the emcee for the summit. Our guests and audience will surely miss his wit and humor.
Outside of business, Greg was, at heart, a good and caring man. I personally know Greg to be a very dedicated and caring family man. We shared stories about our children. He was especially fond of his daughters.
Knowing how I worked so hard during my Philippine Stock Exchange days to help enact several capital market-related laws, Greg privately commiserated with me on the delay of our government in implementing some of them.
In the words of SharePHIL chair Evelyn Singson, Greg was a very generous man—always unselfish with his time and energy, and sincere and supportive to his colleagues.
It is therefore with a heavy heart that we come to terms with Greg’s untimely death. His robust life, both as a professional and friend, is a paradigm most men could only aspire. Greg, being the overachiever that he was, lived his life like a light—and it is a light that will never go out.
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