Photo Courtesy of SM Investments Corporation

A hands-on business leader whose destiny in the family conglomerate is driven by purpose and professionalism


Tessie Sy-Coson always had big shoes to fill; but with her unparalleled wit and passion, she found a pair that is rightfully hers.

As early as the age of 8, she began working with her father, Hans Sy, the visionary who turned a humble shoe mart into one of Asia’s largest conglomerates. In the beginning, Sy-Coson started out as a shop assistant at the kids’ section. Eventually, at 22 years old, she opened the 20,000-square-metre department store that became SM North EDSA. Beginning with retail and merchandising, she left this role having aided in establishing over 42 SM outlets.

When she ventured into banking, Banco De Oro (BDO) was just at the 13th spot in the Philippines’ top banks. Her strategic play to buy into a larger bank was as bullish as it was rewarding. BDO Unibank has been included in the top five ever since and currently sits in first place in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ ranking as to Total Assets.

These successes have not been without challenge. Sy-Coson battled the competitive field of finance and commerce but was hailed among the 2010 Fortune 50’s Most Powerful Women in the World, and the only Filipina on the list at that. She is also an appointed member of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council representing the Philippines.

The Vice Chairman of SM Investments Corporation, however, has never rested on her laurels. She has been known to say, “I have to work to earn the award I received today,” whenever she gains recognition.

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Did you know?

TSC (as she is referred to) still has a dream yet to be fulfilled: the businesswoman wants to study architecture and build her own tall building.  

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