Philippines’ Richest Man, Henry Sy, chairman emeritus of SM Investments has died at the age of 94 on 19 Jan 2019, Saturday morning.
Henry Sy was number one at the top of list of Philipines richest for eleven years in a row. His net worth was estimated at $19 billion at the time of his death.
His daughter Teresita Sy-Coson and Jose Sio, chairman of SM Investments Corp, said that their father died in his sleep.
Henry Sy was born in China, Fujian province in the year 1924.
In 1936, at the age of 12, he migrated to the Philippines and started in the retail business selling rice, sardines and soap in his father’s neighborhood store in Manila.
During the second world war, the store was burned and looted, forcing Henry Sy to sell goods in order for his family survival.
After the second world war ended, Henry Sy started to sell shoes which were imported by US soldiers, which later allowed him to started a footwear shop called ShoeMart. It was the largest chain in the nation and first air conditioned footwear shop.
Later in 1972 he opened his first department store which was 20,000 square meters, which was considered to be large during this era.
In 1974 Henry Sy expanded into property development, which today has a real estate portfolio of 49 residential projects, 6 hotels and 9 office buildings.
In 1976, he purchased Acme Savings Bank, and renamed it to Banco do Oro Savings and Mortgage Bank. In 1996, it became a universal bank and the name was changed to the current Banco de Oro Universal Bank (BDO Unibank).
In 1985, Henry Sy opened his first shopping mall, SM City North EDSA in Manila.
In 2017 Henry Sy stepped down as chairman of SM Investments and assumed the title of “chairman emeritus”, leaving the care of his empire to his children and trusted executive team of leaders.