Yuchengco, Alfonso T.
DLSAA Distinguished Lasallian Awardee
ALFONSO TIAOQUI YUCHENGCO (HS '40) is one of the outstanding businessmen of the Philippines today. He took his elementary and secondary education at La Salle, then studied commerce and accounting at Far Eastern University, where he graduated with a bachelor of science degree in 1946. He took up graduate studies at Columbia University in New York City. The Philippines had gained its independence at that time and jobs were scarce — but the future seemed bright as the country began recovering from the ill effects of the war in the Pacific. He decided to go into insurance, and a few years later started the Great Pacific Life Asurance Corporation as a rival to the American-owned Philamlife and the Filipino-owned Insular Life. After the devastation caused by the war, there was plenty of room in the insurance business. Grepa Life prospered, and branched into other business ventures. Yuchengco became president of the Malayan Group of Insurance Companies, as well as chairman of the board of two similar insurance firms in Taiwan and Indonesia. He was related by marriage to the wealthy and influential Sycip family, whose uncle and father had started the giant China Banking Corporation. Yuchengco headed the board of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation owned by the Sycip family. He also became chairman of the board of a dozen companies; such as the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, Dole Philippines (a subsidiary of Castle & Cooke of Hawaii), Standard Fruits (also a Castle & Cooke subsidiary), Philippine Rock Products, Trans-Malaya Leasing Corporation of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Philippine Fuji Xerox Corporation, Zamboanga Wood Products, BA Finance Corporation (an affiliate of Bank of America), the IFC Group of Companies and Philippine Pacific Capital Corporation. As a successful businessman, Yuchengco has received various awards. Far Eastern University cited him in 1955 as its most distinguished alumnus and in 1978 pinned on him the FEU presidential medal of merit, while the Business Writers Association named him "Insurance Man of the Year" in 1955. In 1984, La Salle University awarded him a doctorate in business management, honoris causa, for his many achievements. "I attribute my success," Yuchengco told a La Sallite writer, "not to 'breaks' in business, but to hard work and perseverance."