SM Investments names Sio as new chair, replacing Henry Sy
The country’s largest conglomerate SM Investments Corp. (SMIC) on Wednesday unveiled a leadership revamp that entrusts the group’s future growth to professional managers.
SMIC announced on Wednesday the appointment of its longtime chief finance officer Jose Sio as the new chair, taking over the post long held by 93-year-old patriarch Henry Sy Sr. who founded the group in 1958.
The conglomerate created the new position of chair emeritus for the patriarch.
The group also announced the appointment of Frederic DyBuncio as new SMIC president, taking over the post held by Harley Sy who will remain as executive director of the SMIC board.
Sy’s eldest children, Teresita Sy-Coson and Henry Sy Jr., will remain as vice chairs of the conglomerate.
In an interview after SMIC’s stockholders meeting, Sy-Coson said Sio had been with the group for a long time, knew the conglomerate very well and was in a good position to take over the post vacated by her father.
Cora Guidote, SMIC investor relations chief, told a press briefing that Sio was “highly instrumental in supporting the phenomenal growth of SM and its subsidiaries. He instilled strict financial discipline across all businesses that later helped the company achieve optimal results even as the whole group maintained a sound and stable financial position.”
Sio said the appointments were an indication that the Sy family was keen on professionalizing the organization in preparation for the future. He added that the group was also preparing the third-generation Sys for leadership positions.
With this leadership transition, Sio said “the mandate from the Sy family was to make it (SMIC) grow, increase shareholder value and be happy.”
Henry Sy Sr., who attended the stockholders meeting with wife Felicidad, was also given a special citation and a standing ovation during the meeting.
Sio was executive vice president and chief finance officer of SMIC for a long time.
He holds a master’s degree in business administration from New York University, is a certified public accountant and former senior partner at Sycip Gorres Velayo & Co. before joining the SM group in 1990. He was voted CFO of the Year in 2009 by the Financial Executives of the Philippines. He was also awarded as best CFO (Philippines) in various years by several Hong Kong-based business publications.
A wealth of experience
DyBuncio brings with him a wealth of experience in banking where he spent over 20 years with JP Morgan Chase and its predecessor companies.
He was assigned to various places such as New York, Seoul, Bangkok and Hong Kong and held various executive positions where he gained substantial professional experience in the areas of credit, relationship management and origination, investment banking, capital markets and general management.
Sio said SMIC would likely post a single-digit growth in net profit this year. Last year, the conglomerate eked out P31.2 billion in net profit, up by 8.1 percent from the previous year.
DyBuncio said that while property, banking and retailing would continue to be the core businesses of SMIC, the group would continue to look at other opportunities that complement other parts of the group.
Sio said energy and infrastructure businesses would be among the new businesses that the group would look at.
Sio said SMIC would look at growth opportunities beyond the Philippines and China where SMIC has property businesses, but noted that every new venture would be studied carefully given the volatile geopolitical conditions in the United States under President Donald Trump as well as tensions in the Korean peninsula.
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