Trailblazer: Gloria Tan Climaco, SGV's first female chair, passes away at 69

Ramon Royandoyan - Philstar.com
This undated photo shows Washington SyCip (L), founder of SyCip Gorres Velayo & Company (SGV & Co.), and Gloria L. Tan Climaco (R). Climaco, a former Presidential adviser and the first female chair and partner of SGV & Co., has died. She was 69.
Washington Sycip Org

MANILA, Philippines — Gloria L. Tan Climaco, a former presidential adviser and the first female chair and partner of SyCip Gorres Velayo & Company, has passed away.

Climaco, fondly known as "Glo" to those close to her, died at 69 years old, after an illustrious career as a titan of the industry.

She earned her magna cum laude honors in business administration from Ateneo de Zamboanga University and placed ninth in the national board examinations for accountants. She completed a Masters in Business Administration from Northwestern University's prestigious Kellogg School of Management.

Corporate career

Climaco is known for blazing a path for women leaders at SGV & Co., becoming a partner in 1985 when she was only 32 years old. Years later, she broke the proverbial glass ceiling when she rose to become SGV's first female chair and managing partner from 1992 to 1995.

As a trailblazer in the industry, Climaco attracted recognition from within the company and beyond. She was a recipient of the country's Ten Outstanding Young Men and Women in 1991. She was also recognized by the World Economic Forum as one of the 100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow in 1994 and lauded as one of The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service in 1995.

In a tribute for Climaco on Facebook, SGV credits her for finding "new applications for its expertise and innovative competencies."

"The Firm found success in the areas of complex financial audits, mergers and acquisitions, debt to equity swaps, capital structuring, initial public offerings, asset securitization, privatization, strategic planning, corporate finance, and change management," SGV wrote.

When she left SGV, she sat on the board of Filipino and Singaporean companies doing business mining, manufacturing, financial services, airline, construction and real estate. She was a trustee of the Makati Business Club from 1995 to 1997.

Government service

Climaco's influence and achievements were not confined to the private sector.

In 2001, she was appointed presidential adviser for strategic projects then-presidential consultant for strategic projects until 2010. As a member of the Cabinet of the Arroyo administration, Climaco studied and recommended prospective big-ticket infrastructure agreements.

Climaco resigned from the job after a year. Despite her short posting, she is remembered for having recommended the suspension of an air terminal construction contract she flagged for containing anomalous provisions.

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