Born in Manila on June 30, 1921 to Albino and Helen SyCip, Washington SyCip would go on to become one of the foremost practitioners of accounting in the Philippines and Asia, as well as a prime advocate of closer cooperation between the Philippines, the United States, Europe and Asia.
He passed the examination for Certified Public Accountants at age 18, but was too young to receive a professional license to practice. He decided instead to take his PhD in the United States at Columbia University. SyCip was working on his doctoral dissertation when Pearl Harbor and Clark Air Base were bombed. He returned to Manila at the war’s end to be reunited with his family. Seeing great opportunities in the country’s postwar reconstruction, he set up his own accounting firm, W. SyCip & Co., in Binondo. As the business grew, SyCip with his longtime friend Alfredo M. Velayo, renamed the firm SyCip, Gorres, Velayo & Co. (SGV).
After retiring from SGV in 1996, he continues to be active in business and civic endeavors, and sits on the board of many Philippine and international companies and foundations. His advocacies include the improvement of public education, micro finance and entrepreneurship, and public health. He is relentless in his pursuit to help alleviate poverty. A staunch believer in Filipino talent, SyCip is also an avatar of economic freedom.
Mr. SyCip graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Master of Science in Commerce (Meritissimus) from the University of Santo Tomas, Philippines and obtained a second Master of Science in Commerce from Columbia University, New York (admitted in Beta Gamma Sigma, Honorary Business Society). He was conferred Doctor of Laws, Honorary degree, by the University of Melbourne, Australia in 1993; Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa); by the University of the Philippines; Doctor of Philosophy in Financial Management, by the De La Salle University, Philippines; and Doctorate Degree in Accounting Education, by the University of Santo Tomas, Philippines.
His numerous honors include the 1992 Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding; the Star of the Order of Merit, conferred by the Republic of Austria; Management Man of the Year, conferred by Management Association of the Philippines, 1967; Accountancy Hall of Fame, conferred by Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants, 1980; the Philippine Legion of Honor, Degree of Commander conferred by the Philippine Government in 1991, Officer First Class of the Royal Order of the Polar Star awarded by H.M. the King of Sweden in 1987, and the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit (Verdienstkreuz 1. Klasse), conferred by the Federal Republic of Germany, August 2, 2006.