Reminiscences of an Independent Director

Address delivered by retired Chief Justice ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN during the 7th Annual Forum of the Good Governance Advocates and Practitioners Association of the Philippines (GGAPP) held on October 16, 2019 at the SMX Aura Convention Center, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Metro Manila.


Distinguished guests, officers and members of the Good Governance Advocates and Practitioners of the Philippines (GGAPP), ladies and gentlemen.

A group of men, all aged about 40, discussed where they would meet for lunch. Finally, after a lot of debate, they agreed to meet at the Jolly Restaurant because the waitresses there were pretty and cheery. Ten years more later, at age 50, the friends once again discussed where to meet for lunch. Finally, after some debate, they agreed to meet at the Jolly Restaurant because the food was good and the wine selection was excellent. Ten years later, at age 60, the friends discussed again where to meet for lunch. After a little debate, they agreed to meet at the now familiar Jolly Restaurant because they could meet in peace and they could view the beautiful sunset from the restaurant’s veranda. Ten years later at age 70, the friends discussed again where to meet for lunch. With hardly any debate, they agreed to meet at the same Jolly Restaurant because it was wheelchair accessible and had an elevator. Ten more years later, at age 80, they discussed again where to meet for lunch, and they immediately agreed to meet at the old Jolly Restaurant because they had never been there before! I wonder where they would meet when they reach the age of 90, and for what reason. Anybody’s guess?

Sufficient Warning
With the loud warning that I will be 83 years old next December and will probably suffer the same jolly forgetfulness of the jolly friends, I thank you and your president, Reginald H. Tiu, for inviting me to address you today at the third floor of the SM Aura which, I was assured, is wheelchair accessible and has elevators. Kidding aside, the truth is I was reluctant to accept your kind invitation to speak for 35 minutes not only because I am already aged and tend to be forgetful, but also because, since my retirement as Chief Justice of our country, I have preferred to keep a low profile and have, as best as I could, respectfully declined public appearances, speaking engagements and TV-radio interviews.

However, your lovely trustee, Companera Jocelyn “Lani” C. Villar-Altamira charmed me into accepting your invitation to recall my experiences as an Independent Director. Since both Lani and I are from Meralco, where she is the Compliance Officer, and I am merely a director who, by law, must be obedient to her directives for good corporate governance, I will begin my talk with my Meralco experiences.

I was in New York City in mid-2008 with my wife Leni, tending to our new-born grandson, Matthew Panganiban-Reagan, when I received a call from the then Meralco Chairman Manuel M. Lopez inviting me to run as an Independent Director of Meralco during a Shareholders Meeting to be held in a few days on May 27, 2008. He was quite persuasive. So, I hurriedly packed my things and caught the next day’s flight which had a convenient connection to Manila.

After Chairman Lopez ascertained the presence of a quorum and called the meeting to order, a shareholder in the cavernous Meralco auditorium stood up and announced the presence of a representative of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) who peremptorily read an alleged ex-parte order from the SEC restraining the use of the proxies favoring the candidates of the Lopez Group. Thereupon, the visibly-surprised Chairman Manolo Lopez, as he is fondly called by friends, declared a recess.

Attempted Corporate Coup
I was seated in the front row of the auditorium beside Oscar M. Lopez, the then patriarch of the Lopez Group and the Chairman of the First Philippine Holdings Corporation which owned directly and indirectly about 37 percent of Meralco. In answer to his private query, I replied that the alleged SEC order appeared, on its face, to be invalid and gravely abusive. I explained that if the Restraining Order were followed, the Lopezes would surely lose control of the company in a sudden, unexpected, hostile takeover by those who held the proxies of three government institutions, the GSIS, the SSS and the Land Bank, which owned a combined 32 percent of the company, plus the proxies they procured constituting about 10 percent, or a total of 42 percent, compared with the Lopez controlled 37 percent plus the 17+ percent proxies they procured but restrained by the SEC, or a total of about 54 percent.

On his further private query of whether Chairman Manolo could simply adjourn the meeting, cancel the election and enable the existing directors to holdover, I opined that since a quorum had been declared and the meeting had been called to order, the government representatives could simply ignore the adjournment, continue the meeting, and hold the election thereby electing all their nominees and defeating by default the entire Lopez slate. Obeying the order, which I thought was void ab initio, would constitute irreparable harm to the Lopezes and to Meralco because directors representing only a minority – only about 42 percent of the total equity – would control and manage the company.

Heeding my advice which was supported by the Lopez lawyers, Chairman Manolo resumed the meeting, ignored the SEC order and proceeded with the election. After a manual count of all the ballots cast by all those present in person and by proxies, which lasted till midnight – the longest corporate election in memory – the election committee proclaimed five winners from the Lopez slate and four from the GSIS-SSS-Land Bank coalition, plus two independent directors, Vicente Panlilio and yours truly, who both ran unopposed, thereby completing the 11-member Board of Directors. Incidentally, the SEC Restraining Order was much later on declared void by the judiciary.

Contentious Board Meetings
But that was not the end of the Meralco conundrum. The monthly meetings of the Meralco Board of Directors that ensued were contentious, sometimes even raucous. The leader of the minority directors repeatedly stood up and harangued the Chairman, accusing the Lopezes of having taken advantage of the corporation without however presenting any proof. At the first Board meeting, he loudly questioned the presence of senior Meralco executives attending the meeting to answer queries of directors, accusing them of being mere Lopez lackeys. Having been shooed away by him, the executives, including a respected retired Supreme Court justice who was then Meralco’s general counsel, left the meeting room in a rush. The retired jurist felt insulted and promptly resigned his post.

As a unanimously-elected ID, I had to assume the delicate work of being a referee, siding with neither group during the meetings. The minority leader came to trust me and invited me to attend his group’s private caucuses before the meetings. In this way, I was able to quiet him down and he became more reasonable and less virulent in his conduct and language. He fondly recalled that his father who was a sitting congressman told him we were good friends for many decades. Many years ago, as a member of the Judicial and Bar Council representing Congress, he earnestly campaigned and voted for my nomination as an associate justice of the Supreme Court. His sister was a sitting provincial governor. To my utter surprise, she sponsored a resolution in the provincial board naming me an “Adopted Son” of their province though I had already retired as Chief Justice. I had to fly to the province to receive the honor amid the clap of a large assembly she gathered.

Cancer from High Voltage Wires?
Ladies and gentlemen, I began my journey in Meralco in a rather unusual manner. Later on, Chairman Manolo Lopez and the Board of Directors asked me to perform yet another unusual role. When I was still CJ, the Supreme Court promulgated a unanimous Decision in Hernandez vs. Napocor (March 23, 2006) ordering the National Power Corporation (now defunct) to cut and relocate the high voltage wires strung atop the Tamarind Road in the outer edge of Forbes Park and Dasmarinas Village in Makati. Though there was no conclusive evidence showing the cause and effect relation between the alleged electromagnetic radiation emitted by these high voltage wires and the cancer suffered by some residents of this street, the Court played it safe and issued the Decision, lest it be accused of negligence or improvidence in case it later turns out that the electromagnetic radiation, indeed, caused, or aggravated, the incurable disease contracted by the residents.

However, if these high voltage wires were cut or decommissioned, a third of Metro Manila, including these two posh villages, would suffer an indefinitely long black out. Moreover, there was no other place where these wires could be relocated without affecting the Metro Manila residents living therein with the allegedly harmful radiation. Burying them underground, aside from being prohibitively expensive, would not shield them from the radiation. Clearly also, Meralco’s gross revenues would suffer a cut of at least one third, leading to tremendous financial losses, even bankruptcy.

To find a solution, I called the complainants and their lawyers, together with Chairman Lopez and representatives of the other parties to confer in my home. I explained that I was a long-time resident of Dasmarinas Village since 1979 and that as an Independent Director of Meralco, I was not representing the pecuniary interests of its shareholders, adding that I owned (and still own up to now) only one qualifying Meralco share. However, I was interested in finding a win-win solution to the problem.

I explained that a decommissioning of the wires would raise havoc in Metro Manila compared with the yet inconclusive suspicion that long exposure to overhead high voltage wires causes cancer. The complainants understood the dilemma. They agreed to ask for expert opinions from neutral and independent medical savants here and abroad, including from the World Health Organization, to substantiate the feared cancer risk. However, after exhaustive inquiries, no final and conclusive medical finding supported the suspicion. Realizing the ill-consequences of the dilemma, my fellow villagers and their lawyers desisted from asking for a writ of execution to enforce the final and executory decision of the highest court of the land. And to this day, the high tension wires are still hanging atop the houses on the perimeter road of the two grand villages of Makati.

Enter Ramon Ang
A few months later, to the relief of Chairman Manolo Lopez, the GSIS, SSS and Land Bank sold their shares in Meralco to San Miguel Corporation (SMC), and four SMC officers replaced the government representatives in the Board of Directors. Two years later, the Lopezes decided to sell a significant portion of their Meralco shares and asked my advice as to whom to sell to between two ardent suitors, Ramon Ang of the SMC, or Manuel V. Pangilinan of the Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC). The buyer would be given active management of the company while the Lopezes would remain a small but cooperative shareholder supporting the buyer. I frankly advised them that I did not know Mr. Ang but that I knew Mr. Pangilinan because I was already an ID of MPIC. I further said that, all things being equal on the price and other terms, and having observed how fairly and competently he ran MPIC, I felt Mr. Pangilinan could well-manage Meralco and deserves to be the buyer.

Ramon Ang and Manny Pangilinan are known to be “frenemies” or “friendly enemies” in the business community. They competed in many transactions, particularly in the biddings for infrastructure projects of the government. And even in the Meralco Board, they continued being “frenemies” and I continued my objective role as an ID, siding with neither of them. To be fair, neither of them asked for anything illegal, irregular or unethical. And my job was not as jarring and as difficult as in the previous year. I did not hide from Ramon Ang my role in the sale of the Lopez shares, yet my relationship with him remained friendly and cordial. In fact, at one time, he privately kidded me, “Chief, kung nagkakilala na tayo nuon pa, siguro pinaboran mo ako sa bilihan ng shares ng mga Lopez. Hindi ba?” I just smiled broadly without uttering a word.

How I Got into Petron
Two years later, San Miguel sold all its Meralco shares to JG Summit Holdings, Inc. On his last day as a Meralco director, Ramon Ang talked with me, saying “Chief, I thought you only knew law. Having observed you, I now know you also know business pala. I will be leaving Meralco, but I would like to offer you an Independent Directorship in San Miguel.” I replied, “Don Ramon, thank you for your kind offer, but I cannot accept it because there is too much conflict of interest between SMC and MPIC.” In that case, he said, “Please join the Board of Petron. Walang conflict diyan. Kasi wala namang petroleum business si Manny.”

I replied that I would be happy to join Petron but that, though I am not obligated to, I thought I should first get Manny’s permission. And after being informed of this offer, Manny readily agreed, saying, “Tama naman si Ramon, we have no conflict with Petron. Besides, I fully trust you and I know you will not reveal our secrets.”

Ladies and gentlemen, that’s how I got into Petron, a company controlled by San Miguel, where much to the surprise of Ramon, my first request was to visit and inspect the refining plant of the company in Bataan. When he asked why I was interested in a technical visit to the plant even if I was neither an engineer nor an accountant, I replied that Petron borrowed about $2.5 billion to rehabilitate the plant, and I thought it my duty to familiarize myself with it. He was so impressed that he insisted on my use of the company helicopter instead of my car. “You will waste a lot of time commuting via land. Anyway, the visit is on official company business. You are entitled to use company assets.”

Investigating a Shareholders’ Complaint
From Meralco and Petron, let me veer to PLDT where I am also an ID. As you may know, PLDT’s common shares are the only Philippine securities traded in the Philippine Stock Exchange AND also in the New York Stock Market. Thus, the company is bound by Philippine law and PSE rules and also by US federal and New York state and city laws as well as the rules of the NY Stock Exchange.

In the old days up to about 2013, PLDT earned the bulk of its revenues mostly from incoming telephone calls from the United States. A group of US investors claimed in a letter to the PLDT Board of Directors that some PLDT top guns, including the Board Chairman and the President, were allegedly defrauding the company and its shareholders by buying at exhorbitant prices from intermediary companies they controlled which in turn contracted with the US telecom companies at a much lower price. In other words, the intermediaries, with the active help of PLDT bosses, were allegedly able to route the calls originating from the US to their telco equipment which in turn connected them to PLDT phones in the Philippines. In this way, the US callers paid the US phone company which in turn paid the intermediary, with the transfer margin allegedly going to the private pockets of these PLDT executives. To show the seriousness of their charges, they enclosed with their letter a draft of a complaint prepared by a US law firm which they were poised to file in the US Securities and Exchange Commission unless PLDT satisfactorily responded to their claims in two months.

The PLDT Board took the matter seriously as it questioned integrity of its top officials to the prejudice of the company and its customers. Instead of merely denying the charges which involved its highest officers, the Board asked me to conduct an independent, objective and thorough investigation lest the mere filing of the complaint in the US SEC would raise questions of integrity in the highest echelons of the company and would certainly wreck its market value to the great prejudice of all its shareholders.

I advised the Board that while I may know a little of Philippine law and the rules of the PSE, I had no knowledge at all of US laws and exchange regulations. So, I accepted the assignment on the condition that I would hire, at PLDT’s expense, attorneys from well-established and credible law firms in Washington, DC which have an intimate knowledge of federal securities laws, as well as in New York which have known expertise of New York securities laws and of the NY Stock Exchange rules.

The Board readily agreed. So, with the assistance of these American law offices, as well as of a prominent local law firm, I conducted the investigation, including trial-type questions and answers covered by video recordings and, later by transcripts of stenographic notes of several officers and employees, including the PLDT Chairman and the then PLDT CEO, conducted under oath by the US lawyers as if the inquiry was being held at the US SEC. These proceedings took about six weeks, with three US lawyers flying-in to our country with their airfare, hotel and other expenses plus their per-hour US dollar professional fees charged to PLDT with transparent accounting.

Thereafter, I promptly rendered my voluminous report complete with the video recordings, transcripts of testimonies and documentary evidence with an executive summary exonerating the officers. Supported by the lawyers, I found absolutely no factual and/or legal basis for the complaint. I was asked by the PLDT AuditCom and Board whether I would be willing to testify in case the investors filed their complaint in the US SEC. I unhesitatingly replied in the affirmative. I said I was staking my career and reputation as a retired Chief Justice on the accuracy, objectivity and truth of my report. In fact, I suggested that, in the interest of transparency, a copy should be sent to the complainants, which the Board did. Thereafter, PLDT heard nothing more from the investors or their lawyers, not then, and not now, after over 10 years.

Becoming a NED at Jollibee
In the PLDT Board, Tony Tan Caktiong was my seatmate during our monthly board meeting. He was one of the three directors representing the 20 percent holdings of NTT Docomo, Inc. of Japan. Many years ago, he declined a new nomination as director to be able to devote more time to the international expansion of Jollibee Foods Corporation. Before he left, he told me, “Chief, I value your opinions during our meetings. Now that I am leaving the Board, I will miss your advice. May I invite you to be an Independent Adviser of Jollibee, and later on, to be elected an Independent Director during our next Shareholders’ Meeting?”

I agreed since I like Jollibee as a company and Tony Tan Caktiong as a friend and seatmate. However, our SEC rejected my nomination as an ID because it did not recognize the position of Independent Adviser, arguing that those who have served as advisers in general cannot be elected independent directors. I was going to ask for reconsideration, but Tony Tan Caktiong said that he preferred to just nominate me as a non-executive director (NED) representing his shareholdings. That’s how I became a NED, instead of an ID. Looking back, I think it is much better that way since I would not be term-limited. In fact, I could represent the interest of the majority shareholders, and take other positions in the company which an ID is not allowed to do. In that sense, my rejection as an ID was a blessing in disguise.

Entry into MPIC
Let me talk now about MPIC, to which I was elected as an ID a month after I retired from the Supreme Court. At that time, it invested in only one business – as the controlling shareholder of Maynilad Water Services, Inc. Since then, I witnessed its speedy growth in acquiring control of Meralco, several toll roads including some in Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, 14 hospitals including Makati Med and Asian Hospital, LRT 1, a number of logistics enterprises, etc. The Chairman of MPIC, Manny Pangilinan, was introduced by and brought to my house by Mrs. Marixi Prieto, Chairperson of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, to consult me about a delicate legal problem. Though that was the first time we met, I took an immediate liking for his humility, ability and entrepreneurial talent and accepted his offer for me to sit in the MPIC Board as an ID.

A few years ago, Metrobank Group Founder and Chairman Emeritus George S. K. Ty, now deceased, asked me, as a Senior Adviser of Metrobank, what I thought of the offer of Manny Pangilinan for the Metrobank Group to buy about 15 percent of MPIC. He said, “You know, I have not invested in any major enterprise as a minority shareholder. However, I have heard a lot about the managerial expertise, fairness and transparent style of Manny. Do you think my group and his could have a successful partnership?” I replied in the affirmative, assuring him that I have observed Manny for many years and I had no doubt he would be a fair and amiable majority partner. Heeding my advice and those of others, he bought into MPIC for the first time as a minority shareholder in a huge company.

Independently Advising Shareholders
Let me now reminisce on something that may happen to any ID. During the last Shareholders’ Meeting of the Asian Hospital, a physician-shareholder, Dr. Josephine Tuason, remarked from the floor during the question hour that the hospital was formed by doctors who contributed their hard-earned professional fees. However, the corporation lost money over the years in spite of the intervention of a Filipino management group and, later on, a conglomerate from Thailand (Bumrungrad). She conceded that after MPIC bought out the Thai holdings and took over management, the company recovered. Then, she asked why the controlling group still wanted to buy some more shares. The presiding officer, Augusto Palisoc, replied, “After MPIC came in about seven years ago and brought in a professional executive (Mr. Andres Licaros) as President, the company recovered such that the shares which were watered down to the extent of 75 percent of their par value when we came in, are now about two and a half times more than their par value plus cash dividends totaling 40 percent of the par value.” To this, Dr. Tuason asked, “If that is the case, why is MPIC still offering to buy our little shares which we want to retain but are afraid that unless we sell, our leases for our small clinics may not be renewed when they expire?” The presiding officer explained that MPIC, as an investor, wanted to buy more shares precisely because they were good investments. To ease the quandary of Dr. Tuason, I took to the microphone and said that as an ID, I did not represent any shareholder, neither the majority nor the minority as in fact I held only one qualifying share. However, I continued that the doctors could sell if they needed the money, or had other investment opportunities better than the Asian Hospital. Otherwise, they could just keep their shares because I personally thought they were good investments. The shareholders greeted my remarks with some applause.

A few weeks later during the MPIC Board Meeting, the presiding officer – after reporting that the MPIC offer to buy more shares yielded little result – amusedly added that he wanted to pull the plug of the microphone while I was talking because I practically opposed the MPIC’s offer to purchase more shares. He and the other directors, including Chairman Pangilinan, laughed at the joke but understood that as an ID, I was not bound to espouse the majority shareholders’ position and that I was free to express my own objective thoughts.

The good news is that, despite my unsupportive stance, I was still offered to be an ID of the Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings, Inc., the MPIC subsidiary overseeing the 14 hospitals it controls and manages. The moral lesson, I think, is that large progressive investors highly appreciate the long-term added value of IDs who tell the truth as they see it.

Main Duty of IDs
Many times, I have been asked what the main duty of an ID is. My answer has always been: The main duty of every director, whether representing the majority, the minority or independent of both, is fidelity to the corporation, that is, to promote and uphold the interests of the corporation above and beyond the pecuniary wants or desires of any shareholder and beyond his or her or its own interests. What makes an ID different from executive and non-executive directors is precisely his or her independence from them, and to uphold truth, fairness, transparency, accountability and good corporate governance. With due respect to those who believe that IDs represent the minority, I think that IDs owe no loyalty or duty to any shareholder or group of shareholders, whether majority or minority. I believe they owe loyalty only to the law that authorized their creation and to the ideals of good corporate governance. After all, even minority shareholders can have ambitions that are not justified or legal, as shown by the corporate coup attempted in Meralco, or they can join the majority in taking advantage of corporate licenses or tax advantages to promote their private or personal agenda.

Some of you, my friends, ask how a retired jurist, now age 83, can attend to his duties as an ID, NED or Adviser of about a dozen publicly-listed companies, plus several non-listed ones, not to mention his concurrent stint as an officer and/or trustee of several foundations and organizations.

Over the years, I have set some criteria in regard to my work. First, I work only in companies where I feel comfortable with the major shareholders and with their distinct company culture. For example, I respectfully declined a directorship in the listed local branch of a huge multinational because the local CEO ignored my request to introduce me to his boss abroad. Meeting the boss was important to me to find out whether I could work with him or her as the ultimate decision maker.

Second, I also decline to sit in companies with direct and contentious rivalry with another I was already involved with. However, where the major shareholders are friendly, even if their companies were rivals, I accept but only with the permission of both. For example, when Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala offered me a seat in the Bank of PI, I told him, “Jaime, did you know that I am a Senior Adviser of Metrobank?” He softly replied, “Yes, I know. I have checked on you already. But I agree with you that you should secure the permission of the Metrobank boss, George S. K. Ty.” When I advised the Metrobank boss, now deceased, of the offer, he immediately said, “Of course, you can join BPI. Jaime is my friend and we both trust you to keep our respective company’s secrets.” By the way, I am no longer an ID; now, I am a member of the BPI Advisory Council. On this topic, may I quickly add in the spirit of transparency that the Chairperson of BDO, Tessie Sy-Coson, who was my student in commercial law subjects when she was studying commerce at the Assumption College, asked me to be her personal adviser who need not attend any BDO meeting, to which I agreed provided the matter she consulted me about did not concern Metrobank or BPI in any manner, directly or indirectly.

Third, I earnestly study the businesses of the corporation I work with, especially holding companies, to be able to contribute meaningfully during meetings. Of course, I need to know details beyond their published financials and their financial ratios. I choose corporations with open meetings characterized by transparency and accountability. I speak not just with the directors, but also with the major officials, especially the chief financial officers to discover related party transactions, or illegal, irregular or unethical plans and actions, if any.

Fourth and final, I observe strict time-management and self–discipline. Modesty aside, I am pleased to say that I am almost 100 per cent in my attendance in all meetings of the Boards of Directors I am a member of, and even of the various Board committees of these companies, whether listed or not. How? Before accepting any post, I find out the days and time of the meetings. Some boards meet monthly, some bi-monthly and some quarterly, on say the first Mondays or third Wednesdays of the month. Some meet in the morning, some at noon, and some in the afternoon. Fortunately, the companies schedule their meetings a year in advance so I am able to juggle them in my memo book. Moreover, since I live in Makati, I can easily commute within the central business districts of Makati, Taguig and Pasig where these companies hold their meetings. When there is a conflict, I request for a change of schedule, to which the other directors invariably agree. If the conflict in schedules is irreconcilable, I decline the post.

Keeping Track of Work
When I was in the Supreme Court, I participated actively in the deliberation and evaluation of the cases. I labored in the office daily, and brought work home so I could read, analyze and devote attention to the pleadings of the parties and the written positions of my fellow justices in the quiet of my private library during the evenings and weekends. Modesty aside, I produced the most number of decisions during my over 11 years in the Court, and chaired more committees than any of my colleagues such that I had no backlog at all when I retired. Moreover, I took time to write one book a year, consisting of about 400 pages, reporting on the outputs of the Court, especially as they related to me. Modesty aside again, no other justice in the Court’s 118-year history has written one book a year in addition to producing the most number of decisions.

I briefly mentioned my work habits during my judicial stint as a background for you, my dear audience, to understand that I am a glutton for work since my school days. Believe it or not, I am happy when I am overworked. In the evenings as I go to sleep and in the mornings as I wake up early at four, I read and look at my iPad and sometimes at my huge screen at home, thrilled at the possibilities of 5G technology in PLDT, of the Real Estate Investment Trust or REIT in the Robinson Land Corporation, of Jollibee’s dream to be one of the top five quick-service restaurants in the world, of the multifarious investments of MPIC, of the green advocacy of the First Philippine Holdings Corporation, of the showbiz entertainment programs of GMA7 Network, of the charitable and educational projects of the Manila Cathedral Foundation and the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity, and of the many faceted activities of the other corporations and foundations I am affiliated with.

Now as I conclude, I am reminded that my retirement from my independent judicial work merely meant a change of tires to embark on a new independent journey in the business world. I am likewise reminded that I have spent more years as a corporate director from January 2007 up to now, or a period of well over 12 years, one year longer than my isolated but equally enjoyable time as a member of the Supreme Court, from October 1995 to December 2006, or a period of over 11 years. And I will continue working as hard and as happy in the corporate and philanthropic world as long as I can, within the time and space the Good Lord would allow me before calling me to an even more glorious world in the Great Beyond.

Thank you for your kind attention.

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