10 Things You Didn’t Know About Herbert Sy

In the realm of Asian entrepreneurship, few names stir more recognition and respect than Herbert Sy. A leading figure in the business world, he has helped shape the landscape of Philippine commerce with his innovative leadership and forward-thinking initiatives. Despite his celebrity within certain circles, there is so much about Sy that flies under the radar, hidden behind his modest demeanor and low-key public persona. Let’s explore ten lesser-known facts about this outstanding business tycoon.

1. Family Business Background

Herbert Sy comes from a lineage of successful business magnates. He is the son of Henry Sy Sr., a revered Chinese-Filipino business tycoon and philanthropist, and considered the wealthiest man in the Philippines. Herbert, among his other siblings, was kept close to the operations and philosophies of their family business from a very young age. This cultivated a deep interest in entrepreneurship in young Herbert and embedded the values of hard work, perseverance, and strategic thinking in him.

Interestingly, Herbert isn’t the only one of his siblings who has successfully made a name in Philippine commerce. His brothers Hans and Harley also play vital roles within the SM Group, showing that the entrepreneurial genes are quite potent in the Sy family line.

2. Important Role in SM Group

Within the SM Group, Herbert Sy plays a significant role. He holds the post of the Director for SM Prime Holdings and the Super Value Inc, both subsidiaries of the mega SM Group conglomerate. His brother, Hans Sy, succeeded their father as the president of SM Prime Holdings, but Herbert’s role is just as crucial for the overall functionality and advancement of the company.

Under his directive, the SM Supermarket was expanded to become SM Hypermarket, increasing the company’s footprint across the country. He is well-regarded for his hands-off leadership style, empowering teams to take initiatives and drive results.

3. Enjoys a Low-Key Lifestyle

Despite being a son of the wealthiest man in the Philippines and a successful businessman in his own right, Herbert Sy prefers to maintain a low-key lifestyle. Unlike other prominent businessmen and celebrities, Sy’s name is seldom found in tabloids or social gatherings. This privacy reflects his belief in doing meaningful work rather than chasing public admiration or gaining attention from the media.

His social media profiles are almost non-existent, and his public interactions are usually confined to formal business meetings or events. He is known to spend his free time with close friends and family members, cherishing the quiet and serenity that their company provides.

4. Appreciates Art

While business and commerce are his primary pursuits, Herbert Sy also has a deep appreciation for the arts. He believes that art plays an essential role in society’s growth, and he backs up his words with actions – he has been a significant patron of local visual arts for several years now.

Sy frequently attends local art exhibitions and cultural events, showing his support for local talents. His philanthropic efforts in this realm have earned him the admiration of many within the Philippine art community, further cementing his multi-faceted personality.

5. Tech Enthusiast

Like most successful businesspersons, Herbert Sy has recognized the importance of embracing technology. True to his forward-thinking demeanor, he keeps himself updated with the latest technological advancements and how they can be integrated into his businesses.

Under his stewardship, SM Supermarket was one of the first supermarkets in the country to adopt a fully automated system for transactions and inventory management. His embrace of technology has also led to various digital transformation initiatives across SM Group’s numerous sectors.

6. Loyal University of Santo Tomas Alumni

Herbert Sy attended the prestigious University of Santo Tomas in Manila, known to be Asia’s oldest existing university. Here, he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Commerce, Major in Accounting. It’s no surprise that his college education has helped him tremendously in his journey as a business magnate.

He maintains a close connection with his Alma Mater and has participated in a number of alumni meetings and events. Sy has often stated that his university experience has played an instrumental role in sparking his interest in leadership principles and commerce.

7. Known for His Philanthropy

Like his father, Herbert Sy is also a philanthropist. He believes in the importance of giving back to the society that has helped him reach the heights of success. As one of the most influential business leaders in the nation, Sy frequently makes generous donations to various causes, especially those focused on education and healthcare.

His philanthropic endeavors are conducted through SM Foundation, which has been actively involved in various social development initiatives in the Philippines. True to his belief in education’s power, Sy has supported several scholarship programs through this foundation.

8. An Advocate for Sustainability

Herbert Sy is a strong advocate for sustainability and believes businesses can be profitable while taking care of the environment. His companies have several environment-friendly initiatives in place.

For instance, SM Supermalls, under his leadership, has installed solar rooftops in many of its branches, contributing to the reduction of the corporation’s carbon footprint. This showcases Sy’s vision of blending sustainability with profitability, reflecting the business world’s future.

9. A Culinary Aficionado

It’s not widely known, but Herbert Sy enjoys fine food and the culinary arts. Though not a chef himself, he enjoys experimenting with various cuisines and believes that good food brings people together.

This love for food is also reflected in his business ventures. The SM Supermarket, under his command, is known for its extensive range of global and local food products. This way, his personal passions are beautifully mirrored in his professional life.

10. Health and Fitness Enthusiast

Maintaining a sound work-life balance is important to Herbert Sy. Despite his busy schedule, he makes time for regular workouts and keeps a close watch on his diet. His fitness regimen includes a combination of weight training and cardiovascular exercises.

He believes that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind, which is crucial for making strategic and consequential business decisions. Sy is a living testament to the vitality that fitness and well-being bring to the entrepreneurial journey.

In closing, Herbert Sy’s multifaceted personality is certainly intriguing. Not only does he run one of the largest business empires in South Asia, but he also manages to maintain a balance between his professional and personal life. From his love for art and food to his commitments to fitness, sustainability, and society, Herbert Sy’s life serves as a testament to the mantra that the key to success is a comprehensive, well-rounded lifestyle.

Useful Links

SM Investments Corporation
SM Prime Holdings
SM Foundation