Lucio C. Tan is one of the most prominent businessmen in the Philippines. Born in China, he moved in his youth to the Philippines with his family, studied chemical engineering in Manila and did odd jobs at a cigar and cigarette factory, working his way up to becoming the company’s chemist. In 1966, he started Fortune Tobacco, which in 2007 entered a partnership with Philip Morris International and is now the dominant cigarette company in the Philippines. From this flagship company, Tan engineered successful ventures in agribusiness; airlines and related services; banking, finance and securities; chemicals; beer and liquor production and distribution; education; hospitality; manufacturing; property development; steel fabrication and construction; and tourism and travel services. The Tan Group of Companies includes Philippine Airlines, Philippine National Bank, Asia Brewery Inc. and Tanduay Distillers Inc.
In 1986, Tan established the Tan Yan Kee Foundation in honor of his father. The foundation’s principal projects support education, culture and sports; health and social welfare; research; and manpower development. Tan has a BS degree in chemical engineering and a PhD in commerce from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila as well as numerous honorary degrees. Among his honors is the 2008 Asia Pacific Entrepreneur Award and Management Man of the Year from the Philippine Council of Management. He was a Distinguished Fellow at the 25th Conference of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Federation of Engineering Associations in 2007 and is founder and vice chairman of the Foundation for Upgrading the Standard of Education.
Doctor of Humane Letters