Chairman, LT Group, Inc.
Lucio Tan is a well-known taipan who has a penchant for expanding his businesses to unimaginable heights, a trait that is matched only by his philanthropy
Lucio Tan is the chairman of the LT Group, Inc. His conglomerate includes Philippine Airlines (PAL), Philippine National Bank (PNB), Asia Brewery, Tanduay Distillers, Fortune Tobacco Corporation (FTC), Eton Properties Philippines, Inc., and the Tan Yan Kee Foundation, which commemorates his father’s legacy. While many have suffered from the crippling blows of a slowed economy, Tan’s diversified investments in liquor and tobacco paid off through new normal operations of business and kept the rest of the holding company’s assets afloat. The octogenarian, after all, managed to set these strategies into motion decades ago.
Once upon a time, Tan was a poor Chinese immigrant that worked as a janitor in a cigarette company. Learning the ropes in this industry gave him the know-how and opportunity to become a tobacco cook and dealer himself. With this knowledge, the taipan began his own empire by establishing FTC and introducing the iconic “Hope” cigarette to the masses. In the early 2000s, his reach had so expanded that the island of Guam recognised Tan as its biggest investor, commemorating the taipan with a Dr. Lucio Tan Day every November. Tan had not only developed massive lifestyle shopping centres in Guam, he also enabled ease of travel through regular PAL flights. In times of crises, Tan had also flown in much-needed resources to aid Guam during disasters.
On the topic of crises, Tan is leaving many spectators with bated breath as he infused over 15 billion pesos out of his own pocket to rehabilitate PAL through the pandemic. This isn’t the Tan’s first rodeo, however, having already ushered PAL out of the Asian financial crisis once before. This bold business move will likely be another tale told one day with admiration of the tycoon. Tan is no stranger to betting big and winning big, because it’s not luck that’s on his side; it’s history and experience. Besides, as one of the wealthiest men in the Philippines, this bail-out is hardly everything he has. At the very least, it is surely imprinting a lesson for how tycoons move through success and failure.
Medal of Excellence (University of Santo Tomas)
Outstanding Manilan 2000 (City of Manila)
Lifetime Achievement Award (Dr. Jose P. Rizal Awards for Excellence)
Eco-Award (Asia-Pacific Roundtable for Sustainable Consumption and Production)
Outstanding Manilan 2010 (City of Manila)
International Green Apple Award (The Green Organisation)
Anvil Leadership Award for Business Excellence (Anvil Business Club)
Best CEO (The Asian Banker)
Did You Know?
Tan shows no fear in the face of failure. He once shared that his competitors had forced him out of his first venture in a corn starch company, but this pushed him towards the businesses that make up his empire today. In an interview, he said, “When you study 5,000 years of Chinese civilisation, you will learn that even the greatest achievers suffer setbacks.”