Why Lucio Tan III is smiling from ear to ear now

PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez - The Philippine Star
Why Lucio Tan III is smiling from ear to ear now
LT Group vice chairman and COO Lucio Tan III.
Elizabeth Laus

With all the responsibilities on his young shoulders as the recently appointed vice chairman and chief operating officer (COO) of the LT Group, Inc. and also the president and chief operating officer at Tanduay Distillers, Inc., what brings a smile to Lucio Tan III’s face?

“I’m a huge Golden State Warriors fan. Basketball definitely brings a smile to my face, especially a playoff game,” Lucio III, who lived in the Bay area for 12 years, told me during a recent interview. As basketball fans know by now, the Warriors are the NBA champions after coming away with a 103-90 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

Though he probably enjoys basketball’s heart-thumping moments, Lucio is looking forward to playing golf again, a sport he played as a child. “It’s a nice break in the middle of a fast-paced life.”

Fast-paced is certainly spot-on in describing Lucio’s daily schedule. Apart from heading Tanduay, he was also appointed vice president of PAL Holdings, Inc. in 2021.He became director of MacroAsia Corp. in December 2019. He is also a director at Philippine Airlines, PAL Express, Philippine National Bank, Lufthansa Technik Philippines, Inc., MacroAsia Catering Services, Inc., MacroAsia SATS Inflight Services Corp., MacroAsia Airport Services Corp., MacroAsia Properties Development Corp., Belton Communities, Inc., Eton City, Inc., and First Homes, Inc.

If that isn’t enough on one’s plate, I don’t know what is. But he doesn’t magnify his responsibilities, and rather thinks they are expected.

Young tycoon Lucio Tan III during a break in the photo shoot for PeopleAsia magazine at the New World Hotel. With him from left are PeopleAsia’s Nestlé dela Merced, contributing stylist Geo Palmiano, Elizabeth Laus, the author and managing editor Paolo Dela Cruz.

“I would say, well, my life, my day-to-day is pretty busy. It has its fair share of surprises as well as a lot of routine. I don’t think it’s particularly special. A lot of people, a lot of executives in this world, as well as a lot of us just, you know, very ambitious people in general, live very hectic lives,” he says.

But life indeed is hectic and the demands on his time, exacting, for this 29-year-old.

“I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t any pressure, because I care a lot about my job and my role into this transition. And so that’s why there is pressure from that standpoint. But I definitely do it as an honor,” he says. His taking on more responsibilities is said to be part of the Lucio Tan Group’s passing the baton to the next generation.

Schooled for most of his life in the United States, Lucio has a degree in Electrical Engineering and a master’s degree in Computer Science from Stanford University. During his university days, he received the Stanford University Frederick E. Terman Award, which is given to the top five percent of Stanford University engineering undergraduates.  From being software engineer at Lyft, taking public transport to work and making his own bed as a student in the Bay Area, Lucio finds himself in a different world now  in the country of his roots as COO of the LT Group. (He takes no offense in being called COO a.k.a. “Child of Owner” as, “I am the child of owner.”)

How is his management style like?

“What I like to do is empower people,” says this eldest of two boys of the late Lucio “Bong” Tan Jr. and his wife Julie.  “That’s something that I like to do and while empowering people to do their jobs, enforce a specific level of standard. And also lead by example. So as an example, in Tanduay, we have introduced more regular syncs with a lot of the different divisions within the organization. So this would be the supply chain organization. This would be the technical operations, distilleries, sales and marketing, we have regular syncs, everyone is aligned.”

Breaking up silos?

“Exactly. And instead of just setting up these meetings and letting them do it, I attend these meetings as well. Because I lead by example, as opposed to just, you know, setting up meetings. So being involved with the process, as well,” adds this involved manager.

And his formula for meeting his goals is simple: He takes each day as they come.

“And make sure that you just control what you can control, basically, and you don’t focus on the end result right away or rather, you don’t fixate on the end result. You’re aware of the end result that you’re looking for. And you just control the day to day to get there.”

Just like in a good basketball game, I suppose. You practice day to day, you don’t fixate on the pressure of the crucial shot that may or may not come your way.  But when the moment comes and you’re connecting with your goal, literally and figuratively, you’re ready to make leap for it.

'Men Who Matter’ 2022.

Men Who Matter

Lucio Tan III is one of PeopleAsia’s much-awaited “Men Who Matter” for 2022.

Also in this year’s talent-studded “Men Who Matter” lineup are Philippine Airlines’ president Captain Stanley Ng; Fighting Maroon Carl Tamayo; human rights lawyer Chel Diokno; Ascott Limited’s country general manager Philip Barnes; journalist Ed Lingao; chef Chele Gonzalez; gallery owner Jack Teotico; chemist Dr. Fabian “Toby” Dayrit; Dr. Enrique Posas, who pioneered minimally invasive interventions, such as TAVR (transcatheter aortic valve replacement) in 2012; Dave Sandoval, one of today’s most established events stylists and floral designers; self-made entrepreneur Avin Ong; lawyer Martin Loon, president and CEO of Cocolife; Budji Layug and Royal Pineda of Budji+Royal; and Donny Pangilinan, one of the country’s hottest young actors.

(You may e-mail me at [email protected]. Follow me on Instagram @joanneraeramirez.)

Cover photos by Mark Chester Ang, shot at the New World Makati Hotel.




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