J. Carlitos G. Cruz, chairman and managing partner of SGV
Words cannot express the depth of our loss. For many of us, Mr. SyCip was not only the firm’s founder, but he was also a teacher, mentor and friend. For many of us who started our careers in SGV, he was the consummate role model of what it means to be a professional. He practiced what he preached. By example, we learned our lifelong values – from punctuality to integrity, excellence in everything we do, and an abiding devotion to serve our country and communities.
Personally, the most valuable lesson I learned from Mr. SyCip is to have a sense of purpose in whatever I do. He founded SGV with a clear purpose in mind – for Filipinos to become world-class professionals who contribute to nation building. SGV has become and will always be a purpose-led organization because that is how WS envisioned the firm for it to endure. I will do my utmost best to live up to his vision. I commit to live the values he passed on to all of us.
Julie Ong Mateo, Partner, Assurance Services, SGV & Co
During the early years of my career in SGV, my encounters with Mr. SyCip were very rare – oftentimes, these were just shared elevator rides early in the morning. I have always been in awe of him; his mere presence commanded deep respect from me. However, as I grew in the firm, I was given the opportunity to have more unforgettable interactions with him. And how wonderful those interactions were – from listening to him sharing stories about his many remarkable experiences to just talking about Facebook and how to take selfies! The one thing I learned from him is that life is truly a journey of continuous learning. One is never too old to learn something new. Mr. SyCip’s wisdom, insights and values have left an indelible impression on me, and I will make sure to keep his legacy of learning alive.
Ramon Farolan, excerpted from “The ‘Bookkeeper’ on the Armed Forces,” Philippine Daily Inquirer, Oct. 16, 2017.
On the AFP leadership. SyCip noted, “We who are in the private sector wonder about the rapid changes in the military leadership. In the private sector, we will not have CEOs with one- or two-year terms if we want reforms or proper planning for the future. Is it possible to carry out reforms in an organization as large as the Armed Forces when there is such rapid change in the leadership?” I have stated it so often. We need fixed terms for the AFP chief of staff and the major service commanders to provide stability and greater certainty in carrying out future plans and programs.
After my columns on the “revolving door” practice covering the AFP leadership, I received a call from SyCip’s office, inviting me for dinner. I thought it would be a gathering of mutual friends from the business community or the military. It turned out to be just the two of us at a Makati restaurant. I shall always treasure his kind words.
Artemio Panganiban, former Chief Justice, excerpted from “Wash SyCip and Chito Tagle,” PDI, Oct. 15, 2017.
Ice of Wash. He was a man of many-splendored talents and quests. I have space to cite only three: integrity, competence and education. I call them the “Ice of Wash.” He practiced integrity, and not merely in terms of honesty in dealing with others; it meant intellectual decency and a deep sense of personal honor that transcended public acclaim or recognition, as well as the moral courage to stand for what is right and proper, even when no one else did. Moreover, to him integrity included active fairness, a sense of giving back more than what is received. He expected his scholars (thousands of them) to give back what was granted them after they finished their studies and became professionals so as to multiply the benefits to new entrants.
He demanded competence and excellence from himself and from all who worked for him and for the organizations he represented. In spite of his advanced age, occasional illness, jet lag, sleeplessness and disabilities, he diligently and promptly attended all meetings of the companies he served. Finally, he had a consuming passion for education. His range was broad and extensive – from the Synergeia Foundation (of which he was “chairman for life”) in basic schooling to the AIM in graduate work. He viewed education as the poor’s passage to prosperity.
Amando Tetangco, former governor, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas
Tetangco shared this email that he sent to his erstwhile boss SyCip, where he thanked him for speaking highly about his stint at the Central Bank: “While I did not have the opportunity to work directly with you when I was an employee at SGV, the training and the discipline that I acquired in my short stint there have clearly served me well in my career at BSP, and for which I certainly feel fortunate. I have also benefited from your insights during our conversations and the relevant and up-to-date materials you have regularly shared with me. Maraming salamat!”
Reginald Yu, SGV & Co. / Ernst & Young Philippines
Working for SGV & Co., which is known for hiring the best and the brightest minds, was like going back to school where I gained so much knowledge about information systems, client relationship management, business processes and, yes, accounting – technical skills that served me in good stead years later. SyCip has generated prosperity not only for his clients, but also for thousands of current and former employees whose careers he helped foster. SyCip’s professional protégés now span the globe.
Perhaps his greatest legacy lies in his immense faith in the Filipino talent, which provides unremitting hope for the future of his country. Brandishing his characteristic optimism and wit, he summed up the outlook for the Philippines, the land of his birth, with this single statement: “The future is limitless.”
Joan Orendain, author and PR consultant who worked with SyCip
Washington SyCip led a life so full, his accomplishments would have filled up several lifetimes for other people … Bigger than life, anyone who has ever crossed paths with him would have memorable stories to tell.
Andre Yap, businessman, writing for Ignite Founders in 2015:
The highest accolade I can give to Wash SyCip: I would want to work for him. He built Asia’s pre-eminent audit and management services firm equal to the world’s best, then expanded it as a platform for growth, innovation, vision and service to an entire nation, always balancing it with a regional and global cause that was seared to his humanity.
This was a man who made so many others legendary leaders in their own right and when the country demanded it, he let them go. How many of our best and brightest technocrats who went on to serve in government and business in the last 50 years came from SGV, and how many tens of thousands more rose up through AIM.