Washington SyCip passes away at 96

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Washington SyCip, the founder of SGV and the Asian Institute of Management has passed away at 96 years old.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 8) — Washington SyCip, founder of SGV & Co., one of the biggest and most sought-after accounting firms in the country has died.

He was 96 years old.

A statement from SGV& Co. confirmed SyCip's passing and said his family "requests for some private time at this moment."

"Please pray for the eternal repose of his soul," it added.

A statement from the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) said, "His passing is a great loss to the institution and the country's business community, but his legacy will live on in the AIM alumni who have become ethical and responsible business leaders, and who strive to live up to Mr. Sycip's call to LEAD, INSPIRE and TRANSFORM."

SyCip was one of the founders of AIM, one of the country's foremost business schools.

Malacañang expressed its condolences to SyCip's family, friends, and colleagues.

A statement released by the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson said SyCip was a "respected voice in corporate governance," adding "he gave us all a sense of what Filipinos could be."

Fr. Jett Villarin, Ateneo de Manila president and a member of the Board of Governors of AIM, remembered SyCip as a compassionate man and a good mentor.

Speaking to CNN Philippines Sunday, Villarin said, "Wash was a mentor. He was known for his business acumen, but perhaps what many people do not know was that his heart was also for Filipino people, especially when it came to public education."

"It was not just accounting, it was not just business, he was truly concerned about building our people," Villarin said.

 

Former Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima expressed his condolences on Twitter Sunday.

 

Senator Richard Gordon also sent his condolences, saying SyCip's contributions to the country are "historic and benchmarking."

 

Senator Grace Poe released a statement saying SyCip was "a man who radiated intelligence and inspired respect, and while he was of slight physical stature, he towered over all of his contemporaries. He was the 'Sage of our Age,' and was one of the persons I greatly admired."

Poe added she shared SyCip's advocacies of poverty alleviation and quality education for all.

"I actively sought his counsel and learned from his wisdom," she said.

Philippine Airlines, where SyCip was a longstanding member of the Board of Directors, also issued a statement expressing their "sadness and grief over the passing of Mr. Washington SyCip."

The statement said SyCip was "a leader, advisor and guiding force behind many other Filipino businesses and philanthropic organizations, and an advocate for poverty alleviation, public education and economic freedom."

"We feel his loss keenly, and will greatly miss his wise counsel and commanding presence," they said.

A giant of business

SyCip was the founder of the SGV Group and the Asian Institute of Management, one of the foremost business schools in the country.

He was a recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding in 1992.

He has also served in the Board of Century Propertis, Inc.; ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, Inc.; Philippine National Bank; Metro Pacific Investments Corporation; and PAL Holdings, Inc.

In a 2012 interview with Esquire Philippines magazine, SyCip said he enjoys work, because he "learns a lot" himself.

"To my mind, as long as you are improving your knowledge, it is interesting. So I don't consider work as a bothersome and a worrisome thing," he said.

SyCip was born in Manila in June 1921.

At 17 years old, he graduated summa cum laude from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) with a degree in commerce. He became a Certified Public Accountant at 18, but was not able to practise because he was too young to receive a professional license.

He left the country to pursue his PhD in Columbia University in the U.S. and returned after World War II to establish what was to become SyCip, Gorres, Velayo & Co. (SGV).

SyCip became the first chairman of the Asian Instritute of Management in 1968.

He retired from SGV in 1996.

Washington SyCip is survived by his wife Anna Yu, and his children Victoria, George, and Robert.