San Miguel: Succession in the Philippines' Largest Corporation
In September 2011, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) celebrated its 122nd anniversary. Its chairman had just turned 76. Two years earlier, he had travelled to the United States to receive a cardiac ablation to correct an irregular heart rhythm. Succession-related questions were on his mind. SMC needed a clear plan for the leadership transition. The charismatic chairman spent his life successfully exploiting business opportunities, growing SMC from a small brewery company into a giant business group. By 2011, SMC was the largest corporation in the Philippines in terms of revenue-accounting for about 6 per cent of the country's gross domestic product and employing about 17,000 people. The group engaged in a wide range of businesses including mining, oil refining and distribution, power, telecommunications, airlines, airports, and infrastructure. How could the company continue to thrive without its remarkable leader? Finding a path towards a smooth leadership succession would be a difficult task. The authors Ruth S.K. Tan and Yupana Wiwattanakantang are affiliated with National University of Singapore.