Wash, 96

Say a prayer for Wash SyCip. By far the greatest Filipino I have personally met. We sat down 2x this year, one on one. He gave me 90 minutes of his time last Holy Wednesday, allowing me to speak for 45 minutes uninterrupted (which terrified me). Then he responded with the sort of wisdom that took me a few days – a few days!!! – to process.

When I realized what a gem he had given I asked to meet again because I needed more. Again he gave me 90 minutes of his undivided attention – and the most wisdom I have ever received in a No.

Excerpts of what I wrote of Wash in 2015:

At last, after all these years I met someone I can give my highest accolade to: that I would want to work for him.

I am an incorrigible entrepreneur, so used to blazing my own path. If there is not a single bone in me that could march to somebody else’s beat, it is simply because I have never met anyone whose strength of character is equalled by both uncommon intelligence and uncommon capacity to be inflamed by mission. Here is the man.

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. He grew and innovated not for the sake of growth or innovation (as so many misguided souls do), but by building from strength to strength and keeping an honest eye and ear to genuine needs sprouting all around him. He was Asia’s visionary, statesman, ambassador long before the world had any hint of the coming and now incumbent Pacific century. And he was to the global manor born, his heart and mind so instictively attuned to the greater context and bigger picture.

To me though, his summa cum laude is that all along the way he brought so many others along – not just that he treated tens of thousand of employees so well but that he did not descend into parochial feudal benevolence that always cycled back to his patronage or to him being boss (as so many misguided souls do). No, this was a man who made so many others legendary leaders in their own right, and then when country and universe demanded it, he let them go, free to serve a cause beyond his. 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.

Thank you, sir. Rest well and enjoy the heavenly embrace. I know you will continue to keep our country and people in your big big heart, now eternal.



Andre Yap October 12, 2017