Roberto Romulo, Renowned Diplomat and Businessman, Dies at 83

He was 83 years old.
Photo/s: Zuellig Family Foundation

Former Foreign Affairs Sec. Roberto "Bobby" Romulo, who has received international recognition for his work as a diplomat, has passed away, his office confirmed on Monday. He was 83 years old.

Romulo died on Sunday, the Carlos P. Romulo Foundation said, without mentioning the cause of his death.

Romulo is the son of former foreign affairs minister Carlos P. Romulo, and a cousin of another foreign affairs chief, Alberto Romulo. 

Throughout his career which spanned more than five decades, Romulo held key positions both in business and in government.

He started out his career with IBM Corp. in New York City in 1965 where he held various marketing and management positions in New York, Thailand and the Philippines, according to his office.

In 1989, Romulo joined government service, first as Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the Commission of the European Communities and later as Secretary of Foreign Affairs under the administration of former President Fidel Ramos.

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As a diplomat, Romulo was decorated by the governments of Belgium, Thailand, Spain, Chile, France, and the Philippines.

Romulo returned to the private sector in 1995 and was elected chairman of PLDT and vice chairman of San Miguel International. He also led Zuellig Pharma from 1997 to 2007 and became an independent director of Singapore Land and UIC from 2003 to 2010.

Prior to his death, Romulo chaired the AIG Philippines Insurance, Inc., PETNET Inc., MediLink Network Inc. and Nationwide Development Corporation. He also was a board member of Equicom Savings Bank, Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc., Maxicare Healthcare Corporation and McLarty Associates.

Aside from his work in the private sector, Romulo also chaired non-profit foundations such as the Carlos P. Romulo Foundation, Foundation for IT Education and Development, Philippine Foundation for Global Concerns, and Asia-Europe Foundation of the Philippines.

Romulo maintained a weekly column at the Philippine Star where he talked about business and politics.

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