THE Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) formally awards Teresita Sy-Coson as MAP Man of the Year today.
Sy-Coson has been chosen for her distinguished practice of management in the SM Group of Companies that largely contributed to the country’s progress. She is the 41st awardee in MAP’s five-decade history.
The eldest daughter of patriarch Henry Sy, she is currently the vice chairperson of SM Investments Corporation (SMIC), one of the Philippines leading conglomerates. Known for growth, innovation and leadership, SMIC’s core businesses include retail, mall operations, banking and property development.
Sy-Coson steered the SM Group’s retail business to greater heights with her over four decades of retail experience. She also transformed the SM Group’s property business into one of the largest integrated property developers in Southeast Asia with investments in malls, residences, commercial buildings, leisure and tourism.
In retail, she oversees the growth of the business that includes SM Department Stores, SM Supermarkets and other retail affiliates totaling 300 stores nationwide. The SM Retail Group was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Retail Asia’s Asia Pacific Top 500 Awards, after being awarded the Best of the Best Award for three consecutive years.
Sy-Coson also works closely with the Group’s mall operations via SM Prime Holdings, where she sits as an adviser to the Board of Directors. SM Prime, to date, is the most dominant mall developer in the country.
The MAP noted Sy-Coson’s valuable contribution in sustaining Banco de Oro’s position as the leading bank in the Philippines. She is the chairperson of BDO, currently the Philippines’ biggest commercial bank in terms of total resources, customer loans, total deposits and assets under management. Her management proficiency has earned her various recognitions, including The Asian Banker Award for Women in Financial Services and the Asian Banker Leadership Award. She was also awarded the prestigious Retail Banker of the Year by The Asian Banker in Singapore. She was also appointed as a member of Asean Business Advisory Council representing the Philippines.
Part of the honors bestowed upon her is the recognition of her leadership in SM Group of Companies substantial contributions to national development, job creation and income generation through its huge investments in real estate, banking, shopping malls, hotels, convention centers and gaming.
Above all these, the management association accords Sy-Coson paean for her humanitarian style of strengthening the identity of companies under the SM Group as socially responsible corporate citizens through SM Foundation’s developmental programs on education, livelihood, health and wellness and the BDO Foundation’s programs in relief operations, education, shelter and livelihood that have improved the lives of many Filipinos all over the country. The MAP also recognizes her contribution to reshaping national values through her track record of integrity, professional competence and strong leadership.
Sy-Coson’s humble beginnings
Sy-Coson was only five years old when her maternal grandfather, who owned a small shoe store in downtown Manila, would take her to the bank as part of his business routine.
Young Teresita recalled that his grandfather took her to his store where she observed people buying shoes. At age 8, she decided to sell shoes herself. Five decades later, Sy-Coson became the vice chairman of SMIC.
SMIC was created in 2005. Her father retail magnate Henry Sy Sr. is credited for introducing the “malling culture” in the Philippines. See related story on Inside Back Cover.
Now, in his late 80s, the elder Sy is still the chairman of SMIC but leaves the day-to-day operations to his children: son Harley is president of SMIC and works with the retail group; Henry Jr. is vice chairman of SMIC and runs the property group; Elizabeth runs the hotels and conventions business; and sons Hans and Herbert are in charge of shopping centers and supermarkets, respectively.
As the eldest of six children, Sy-Coson is often referred to in the media as her father’s heir apparent, but she humbly corrected that all her siblings are involved in the family businesses as well.
Sy-Coson admitted she never had a choice because she was born into a business family. For her, it’s her destiny [to be at the helm]and she’s very grateful that she belongs to the Sy family, especially her father who taught her to be the best in everything she does.
She considers her growing up years as source of her initiative, drive and dedication to whatever she does in her business career.
As the eldest daughter of Henry Sy, she was lucky to have a headstart but it also meant hard work and dedication to gain respect.
Sy-Coson is now reaping all the rewards due her but humbly declines to take all the credit. For her, it’s a family business and she can’t do without her family’s help.
Other MAP awardees
The MAP Management Man of the Year awardees include: Washington Z. SyCip, 1967; Geronimo Z. Velasco, 1977; Henry A. Brimo, 1978; Jose M. Soriano, 1979; Cesar E.A. Virata, 1981; Jaime V. Ongpin and Vicente T. Paterno, 1982; Dante G. Santos, 1983; Cesar A. Buenaventura and Roberto T. Villanueva, 1985; Jaime Zobel de Ayala, 1987; Ramon V. del Rosario Sr., 1988; Jose B. Fernandez Jr., 1989; Raul T. Concepcion, 1990; Oscar J. Hilado, 1991; Alfonso T. Yuchengco, 1992; Juan B. Santos, 1994; David M. Consunji and Rizalino S. Navarro, 1996; Gabriel C. Singson, 1998; Delfin L. Lazaro and Henry Sy Sr.,1999; Oscar M. Lopez, 2000; Tony Tan Caktiong, 2002; Jesus P. Tambunting, 2003; Rafael B. Buenaventura, 2004; Manuel V. Pangilinan, 2005; George S. K. Ty and Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, 2006; Jose L. Cuisia Jr., 2007; Antonino T. Aquino and Jesus P. Estanislao, 2009; Lilia B. de Lima and Ramon R. del Rosario Jr., 2010; Erramon Aboitiz, 2011; Aurelio R. Montinola 3rd, 2012; Edgar O. Chua, 2013; Albert F. del Rosario, 2014; and Amando M. Tetangco Jr., 2015.