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Taipans and Titans of Industry Remember Washington SyCip

"Whenever I needed a dose of wisdom, I went to Wash."
By Yvette Fernandez for |




Washington SyCip, the founder of SGV & Co., Inc., passed away over the weekend on a flight from Manila to Vancouver on his way to New York. He was 96. The business icon and philanthropist was a mentor and adviser to many of today’s titans of industry.



Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, chief executive officer, Ayala Corporation



"Wash SyCip's passing away marks a generational shift for the Philippine business community. He was dedicated to the Philippines across a spectrum of social and economic issues, and he will leave a lasting legacy of progressive engagement on national issues. He was a mentor and guide but, most importantly, he was a friend. May you rest in peace, Wash."



Tessie Sy Coson, vice chairman, SM Investments Corporation

"I got to know Mr. Wash more in his senior years. He generously imparted a lot of valuable wisdom in many of our discussions. I will miss his presence."



Ramon Del Rosario, Jr., president and chief executive officer, PHINMA


"Wash SyCip was granted a Ramon Magsaysay Award because of his greatness of spirit, always willing to share his wisdom with his colleagues in business and with fellow education advocates on how best to educate our people. Best of all he truly cared for those with less in life, and he did what he could to make their lives better."



Lance Gokongwei, president and chief operating officer, JG Summit Holdings


"I remember graduating from UPenn thirty years ago, and the first person my father asked me to visit was Wash SyCip because of the enormous respect he had for Uncle Wash. Wash SyCip has been a role model for building a professional and world-class organization to our family and group for many decades. We will miss his wise counsel at our Gokongwei Brothers Foundation and on our JG Summit board."



Federico Lopez, chief executive officer, First Philippine Holdings Corp.



"Wash has counseled three generations of Lopezes since my grandfather’s time. A few years ago I met a third-generation CEO of a large European business family who told me pretty much the same thing: that he was also the third generation in his family to benefit from Mr. SyCip’s wise counsel and advice. I likewise treasured his presence on our First Philippine Holdings Board and our Ang Misyon Board. 


"The last few years we also had the opportunity to travel together attending Asia Business Council meetings as well as New York Philharmonic concerts and board meetings. He even sang a Sinatra number with us at one intimate dinner among friends not too long ago. I could see how he was such a respected, kind and indefatigable force, always bringing all kinds of people together. He quietly made so many good things happen. I kept telling myself I’d miss him when he’s gone. Just never realized how much, till today. Godspeed Wash, now you can have all the rum raisin ice cream you want!"



Manuel V. Pangilinan, chief executive officer, First Pacific Company Limited



"Wash SyCip was a model of integrity, hard work, courage, and tenacity. I was up close and personal with him only in his later years and thought he must have been a formidable leader when he was young. As a young entrepreneur myself in Phinma in the '70s, I was occasionally exposed to Mr. SyCip. Since then, I was indelibly impressed with his brains and toughness. We will miss him–a true leader who left us with fond memories we cannot forget."



Enrique Razon, chairman and chief executive officer, ICTSI Inc.

IMAGE Courtesy of ICTSI


"Whenever I needed a dose of wisdom, I went to Wash."



Andrew Tan, chairman, Alliance Global



"I have great respect and admiration for Mr. Washington SyCip. When I was a young student, I already looked forward to meeting him. He was like a godfather to all of us Accounting students. In the later part of my life, whenever we met, he always had words of wisdom to share with me."







This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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