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Who Is Gabby Lopez, the Longest-Reigning Chairman of ABS-CBN?

He served as chairman of ABS-CBN for over 20 years.
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When you mention leadership at ABS-CBN, you can't help but picture Gabby Lopez, even though he has long vacated his post as the network’s president and CEO. That is because Lopez was also the longest-reigning chairman of ABS-CBN. He held the position for more than 20 years from 1997 to 2018. Gabby Lopez is a household name as much as ABS-CBN is. 

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Gabby Lopez's Family Background

Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III is the son of ABS-CBN’s former chairman, Eugenio “Geny” Lopez Jr., and Conchita Arguelles La’O. Gabby had eight siblings, among them the late Gina Lopez. 

Prior to establishing themselves as media moguls in the Philippines, the Lopez family of Jaro, Iloilo had already been influential businessmen, thanks to the industry of Gabby Lopez’s grandfather, Don Eugenio Lopez Sr., who is recognized as the first Lopez scion who succeeded in enriching himself and growing his estate, which still exists today as the ABS-CBN Corporation.

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When Gabby was just six years old, his grandfather Don Eugenio, who already owned Chronicle Broadcasting Corporation, acquired ABS and merged the two companies as ABS-CBN.

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His mother, Conchita "Chita" Arguelles La'O is one of the daughters of the illustrious La'O family, a Chinese-Filipino clan based in Manila.

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Gabby Lopez has four children. His daughter is married and now resides in London. The eldest son, Eugenio Manuel G. López IV, is also married and resides in California. 

Carlo Lopez Katigbak, the current president and CEO of ABS-CBN, is Gabby Lopez’s cousin. Mark Lopez, the current chairman of ABS-CBN Corporation, is also a cousin of Gabby. 

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Where did Gabby Lopez study? 

From 1970 to 1974, Lopez attended Bowdoin College, which is based in Brunswick, Maine. Here, he earned his degree of Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Bowdoin is a college that specializes in liberal arts. 

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Following his graduation from Bowdoin, Lopez pursued a postgraduate course at the Harvard Business School from 1978 to 1980, where he earned a  Master’s degree in Business Administration.

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Gabby Lopez’s Work at ABS-CBN

Prior to working for ABS-CBN, Gabby worked at the now-defunct Crocker National Bank, which was based in San Francisco, California. He served as the bank’s assistant vice president for back-office processing.

In 1986, when Gabby was 34 years old, his father gave him a job at the network as director of finance. This was right after the Lopez family regained control of the network after the Marcos government seized their assets to be distributed to the dictator’s cronies. A year later, Gabby was appointed general manager of ABS-CBN. In 1993, the board of directors appointed him president of ABS-CBN.

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In just three years, Gabby rose to the corporation’s top post. As the eldest son, Gabby was groomed to take over the company. His father Geny relinquished the chairmanship of ABS-CBN and transferred it to him in 1996. Lopez stepped down as president but became the chairman and chief executive officer of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation.

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As chairman of ABS-CBN, Gabby Lopez steered the steady growth of ABS-CBN’s staple businesses by pursuing an aggressive diversification into various ventures. He strengthened the company’s footing in telecommunications and cable services through BayanTel and SkyCable, which were under the Lopez Communications Group he founded in 1997.

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Gabby Lopez retired as CEO of ABS-CBN in 2012. He was succeeded by then-ABS-CBN president Charo Santos-Concio, but remained chairman of the board of directors. 

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In 2012, he retired as CEO of ABS-CBN and was succeeded by the ABS-CBN president Charo Santos-Concio, while remaining as chairman of its board of directors. Gabby relinquished his chairmanship of the board in 2018 and was replaced by his cousin Mark Lopez. He was elected by the board to remain as chairman emeritus. 

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Today, ABS-CBN Corporation announced Gabby Lopez has resigned chairman emeritus of the corporation. He has also resigned from his posts at ABS-CBN Holdings, Sky Vision, Sky Cable, Rockwell Land, and more. 

More: Gabby Lopez Resigns From ABS-CBN Corp, ABS-CBN Holdings, Sky Vision, Sky Cable, Rockwell Land, and More

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor, Esquire Philippines
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