Washington SyCip

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Washington SyCip
Washington Sycip.jpg
SyCip at Club Filipino in San Juan in 2008
Born(1921-06-30)30 June 1921
Died7 October 2017(2017-10-07) (aged 96)
Alma mater University of Santo Tomas
Columbia University
Known forFounder of the SGV Group and Asian Institute of Management
Spouse(s)Anna Yu
Parent(s) Albino SyCip
Helen Bau SyCip
Military career
AllegianceFlag of the United States (1912-1959).svg  United States
Service/branch Seal of the United States Department of War.png United States Army
Years of service1942-1945
Battles/wars Burma Campaign
(World War II)
Website www.washingtonsycip.org

Washington Z. SyCip [1] , PLH BOLk RNO1kl (30 June 1921 – 7 October 2017) was a Philippine-born American accountant. He was the founder of the accounting firm EY SGV & Company and the Asian Institute of Management.


Early life and education

SyCip was born in Manila on 30 June 1921 to Albino and Helen SyCip [1] . His father, Albino SyCip, co-founded Chinabank in 1920. His name was derived from the fact that his father was in Washington, D.C. at the time of his birth. He spent his early years living in Shanghai [2] before attending Padre Burgos Elementary School [3] and Victorino Mapa High School. [2] He skipped three grade levels in elementary school. [3]

SyCip earned a commerce degree at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) with summa cum laude honors at age 17. He taught in UST while pursuing a master's degree. He passed the board examinations for Certified Public Accountants at age 18. [2] In 1940, he went to the United States to attend the Columbia University in New York to complete a post-graduate degree. He completed all academic requirements for the degree except for his dissertation due to the outbreak of World War II. [4]

World War II

After learning of his father's imprisonment in the Philippines by Japanese invading forces, he reevaluated his plans of pursuing a doctorate degree. In 1942, he enlisted himself in the US Army [5] and became a naturalized US citizen in 1943 [3] . He joined Camp Cooke but was told to be "overqualified" for the infantry for having the highest IQ level in his regiment. He studied Japanese in a language school in Colorado and cryptography in Virginia. He was then deployed to Calcutta, British India as a codebreaker. [5]


After World War II, SyCip was discharged from the US Army and returned to Manila at age 24. He initially taught accounting at the University of Santo Tomas and two other colleges. He decided against joining one of the British accounting firms returning to the country following the war reasoning that only a white person could become a business partner in such firms. [3]

In March 1946, he opened W. SyCip & Company with a desk in his brother Alexander’s law office in Binondo. [6] He eventually partnered with Alfredo M. Velayo and Vicente O. José to form SyCip, Velayo, José & Company. The firm would evolve into what is now known as SGV & Company (SGV). SyCip earned a Master of Science in Commerce from Columbia Business School. [7]

By 1958, SGV was already the biggest accounting firm in the Philippines and already overtook Fleming & Williamson the then largest British firm operating in the country. He retired as chairman of SGV in 1996 but remained involved with the firm [3] until his death.

In 1968, he co-founded the Asian Institute of Management in the Philippines and served as chairman of its board of trustees and board of governors. He was the first chairman of the Euro-Asia Center of INSEAD, a leading graduate business school, in Fontainebleau, France. [8]

SyCip was a founding governor of the Wharton School's Lauder Institute. [9]


SyCip died on October 7, 2017 aboard Philippine Airlines Flight 126, which took off from Manila bound for Vancouver with continuing service to New York City. He was with his son, George SyCip, and an assistant, Roberto Cabilles. [2] He died before reaching Vancouver. [10]


Flowers displayed at the Washington SyCip Park shortly after his death. Flowers for Washington SyCip Washington SyCip Park.jpg
Flowers displayed at the Washington SyCip Park shortly after his death.

As of December 2016, SGV & Company (SGV) continues to be the largest accounting firm in the Philippines, auditing about half of 304 publicly listed companies in the Philippine Stock Exchange. SGV has stiff competition from rival firms, Punongbayan & Araullo, KPMG RG Manabat & Company, and Reyes Tacandong & Company, which were established by former business partners of SGV. [11]

The Washington SyCip Park in Makati, Metro Manila was named in his honour on the occasion of his 85th birthday. [12]

The Ayala Foundation and the Jollibee Group Foundation launched fundraising for the "INSEAD Washington SyCip Scholarship" for Filipino MBA students in honour of SyCip. [13] [14]


Positions held by SyCip prior to his death:


Personal life

Sycip was married to Anna Yu with whom he had three children; Victoria, George, and Robert. [33]

Further reading

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