Tessie Sy, Robina Gokongwei make Forbes list | Inquirer Business

Tessie Sy, Robina Gokongwei make Forbes list

/ 04:59 AM April 08, 2016

The SM Group’s Teresita Sy-Coson and Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc. (RRHI) chief Robina Gokongwei-Pe landed in Forbes Magazine’s list of 50 most powerful businesswomen in Asia.

In a press statement Thursday, the leading business and financial news magazine said the 50 businesswomen were picked among those “active in the upper echelons of business in Asia, wield significant power and have access to robust financial resources” in this part of the world.


In short, the 5th annual “Asia’s Power Businesswomen” list comprised of women who were “shaking things up across diverse industries.”

The 2016 list, which is available on www.forbes.com/asia-women as well as in the latest issue of Forbes Asia, acknowledged the inroads women were making in the business world. Women from 14 countries were represented.


Sy-Coson, 65, is the country’s constant representative to this list. Since joining the Banco de Oro board in 1997, she led the growth of Sy family-led BDO Unibank from a niche player to the largest lender in the country.

A graduate of Assumption College, she is an expert in banking and finance, retail merchandising, mall and real estate development. She is also believed to be the most likely to succeed her father, the SM patriarch Henry Sy Sr. as the captain of the ship.

At present, she is vice chair of SM Investments Corp., the country’s most valuable conglomerate and is adviser to the board of SM Prime Holdings Inc. She also sits on the board of SM Mart Inc. and SM Retail Inc.

Gokongwei-Pe, 54, has joined the list for the first time. She is the president of multiformat retailer RRHI, one of the country’s largest retailers which benefit from growing consumer affluence in the country. She is also a director of JG Summit Holdings Inc., Robinsons Land Corp., Cebu Air Inc. and Robinsons Bank Corp. She is also a trustee of the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation Inc., Immaculate Conception Academy Scholarship Fund and the Ramon Magsaysay Awards Foundation.

The daughter of tycoon John Gokongwei, she attended the University of the Philippines-Diliman from 1978 to 1981 and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree (Journalism) from New York University in 1984. She joined the group in 1984 as a management trainee.

China and Hong Kong dominated the latest list with 14 women, followed by India with eight, Thailand with five and Japan with four. Singapore, Australia, Indonesia and Vietnam each have three. South Korea and the Philippines each have two while Macau, Taiwan and New Zealand have one each.

The magazine said that despite China’s slowdown, a core group of this year’s listees was creating wealth in the country’s manufacturing sector. They include Ma Xiuhui, cofounder and chief executive officer of Opple Lighting, a company that started out making traditional bulbs and whose LED lighting now illuminates homes around the world; and, Mou Jinxiang, cofounder and chair of Lianhe Chemical Technology, which sells specialty chemicals to giants such as Dow Chemical and BASF. With a 30.5 percent stake in the company, Mou is also a member of the Forbes China Rich list with an estimated net worth of $960 million.


From India, Nita Ambani, director of Reliance Industries and chair of Reliance Foundation, debuted on this year’s list. She is also the wife of billionaire Mukesh Ambani. “Her rising profile in the Reliance empire is unusual and earns her a spot in this year’s ranking,” the magazine said.

Chanda Kochhar, a five-time listee, is at the helm of ICICI Bank, India’s largest private-sector lender.

The other women honored for their achievements include: Wendy Sui Cheng Yap, cofounder, president-director and CEO of Indonesia’s Nippon Indosari; Yuwadee Chirathivat, CEO of Thailand’s Central Department Store Group; Arundhati Bhattacharya, chair and managing director of State Bank of India; Ho Ching, executive director and CEO of Singapore’s Temasek; Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz, CEO and managing director of Australia’s Mirvac; Lee Boo-jin, president and CEO of South Korea’s Hotel Shilla; Pollyanna Chu, CEO of Hong Kong’s Kingston Financial Group; and Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, cofounder and chair of Vietnam’s Sovico Holdings.

In addition to the power 50 list, 12 women in their early 20s to mid-30s have been singled out as “Women to Watch.” Among them are Nang Lang Kham, executive director of Myanmar’s KBZ Bank; Tan Hooi Ling, cofounder and COO of Grab; Sabrina Ho Chiu Yeng, project manager at the Palazzo Versace and Karl Lagerfeld Hotels in Macau. Lavanya Nalli, the first female vice chair of India’s Nalli Group of Cos., and Anna Fang, partner and CEO of ZhenFund, also made the watch list.

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