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Meet PH’s 3 most powerful businesswomen

Sy-Coson on Forbes Asia's list of 50 powerful businesswomen for 4th straight year; Yuchengco-Dee, Rustia-Tantoco debut on list
/ 05:17 PM February 26, 2015

THREE influential female Philippine corporate leaders led by Teresita Sy-Coson of conglomerate SM Investments Corp. landed on Forbes Asia Magazine’s 2015 roster of 50 “powerful businesswomen” in Asia.

The list, the fourth annual roster of this kind drawn up by Forbes Asia, was meant to recognize 50 powerful businesswomen in Asia “who are driving change across diverse industries,” Forbes said in a press statement on Thursday.

To make the list, candidates have to be active in the upper echelons of the business world in Asia, wield significant power and have access to robust financial resources. Sy-Coson has made it to this elite list every single year since its inception in 2012.

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Helen Yuchengco Dee, chair of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. and Zenaida Rustia-Tantoco, chair and chief executive officer of SSI Group/Rustan’s Commercial joined the list for the first time.

Second generation tycoon Sy-Coson is the daughter of the country’s wealthiest man Henry Sy, who has a net worth of $12.7 billion, based on Forbes’ estimate. The group is the country’s leading player in banking, retailing and property development.

The magazine noted that Sy-Coson’s vision for the family company continued to widen in 2014. “Under her lead SMIC became the largest listed company on the Philippine Stock Exchange by market cap,” the magazine said. The publication added that banking arm Banco de Oro Unibank – where Sy-Coson sat as chair – recently acquired Citibank’s thrift operations in Manila, Deutsche Bank’s trust business in the Philippines as well as the country’s second largest rural bank, referring to Mindanao-focused One Network Bank.

The magazine noted that BDO had likewise teamed up with the leading bank in the UAE to better serve overseas Philippine workers and opened a representative office in South Korea.

Yuchengco-Dee, the eldest of eight children of Philippine businessman and former ambassador Alfonso Yuchengco, runs the Yuchengco Group of companies which has interests in banking, insurance, construction, education and travel.

“Dee says she is more conservative than her risk-taking father, now 92,” the magazine said.

The family ranks 23rd on Forbes Asia’s list of the Philippines’ richest with $685 million in net worth.

With more than 700 sales outlets in 69 malls nationwide, including the upscale Rustan’s department stores, Forbes Asia said Rustia-Tantoco was “poised to build further on what her parents founded 60-plus years ago.”

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Specialty retailer SSI debuted on the Philippine Stock Exchange last year, leaving 30 percent of its shares to public hands. “Tantoco will use the IPO (initial public offering) proceeds to expand the company’s FamilyMart convenience store chain and midrange Wellworth department stores. She is an active fundraiser for music and humanitarian causes. In her free time she gets together with family—all three of her children work at Rustan’s—and enjoys the beach,” the magazine said.

Women leaders from 16 countries are represented on this year’s list. China and Hong Kong again dominate with 14 women, followed by India with six, Thailand with five and Singapore with four. South Korea, Australia, the Philippines and Indonesia each have three, while Japan and Vietnam each have two. Malaysia, Taiwan, Myanmar, Mongolia and New Zealand have one each.

Other honorees are: Ho Ching, executive director and CEO of Singapore’s Temasek; Pansy Ho, managing director of Shun Tak Holdings and co-chair of MGM China; Sun Yafang, chair of China’s Huawei Technologies; Gina Rinehart, executive chair of Australia’s Hancock Prospecting; Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, founder, chair and managing director of India’s Biocon; Zhang Xin, co-founder and CEO of Soho China; Yuwadee Chirathivat, CEO of Thailand’s central department store group; Wendy Yap, president, director and CEO of Indonesia’s Nippon Indosari and Mai Kieu Lien, chair and CEO of Vietnam’s Vinamilk.

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TAGS: 50 powerful businesswomen, Forbes Asia, Helen Yuchengco-Dee, Teresita Sy-Coson, Zenaida Rustia-Tantoco
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