In Memoriam Alfredo M. Velayo

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Born on 26 August 1921 in Santa Mesa, Manila, Mr. Alfredo M. Velayo was the ninth of 10 children. He was a product of the Philippine public education system, having graduated from P. Burgos Elementary School and V. Mapa High School. He then obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce with a major in Accounting, summa cum laude, from the University of Santo Tomas, where he started teaching night classes on his third year.

After passing the Certified Public Accountant Licensure Examination in fourth place, Mr. Velayo started building his public accounting career by joining the Manila office of Haskins & Sells known as Clarke & Larkin while taking up his Master’s degree at the Far Eastern University. His time as a junior auditor in the firm and as a graduate student came to an end with the onset of World War II. He married Harriett Lazaga in 1942. They migrated to the US in 1945 and Mr. Velayo was drafted into the US Army. He had planned to continue his graduate studies in the US once he was discharged from the Army, but his childhood friend and classmate Mr. Washington SyCip encouraged him to seize the excellent opportunities in the Philippines to build an accounting practice as the country started its recovery after the war.

Mr. Velayo joined W. SyCip & Co. in early February 1947 as a partner. The partnership was later renamed SyCip, Velayo, Jose & Co. in April of that same year, and assumed its final name of SyCip Gorres Velayo & Co. (SGV) in 1950.

In the early years of the firm, Fred was a sought-after professor at the University of the East, where he became the head professor of accounting for the CPA review classes. He taught until he was appointed by then President Ramon Magsaysay as the Chairman of the Board of Accountancy in 1954, a position he held for three years. During this time, he continued to work towards the expansion of SGV to more locations in the Philippines, serving not only local companies, but also multinational corporations.

Mr. Velayo retired from SGV & Co. at the end of April 1970 after almost 24 years of service. Among the positions he held after his SGV & Co. years are COO, Executive Vice President, and Treasurer of Lepanto Consolidated Mining; director of a number of companies such as Far East Bank & Trust Co., Manila Cordage Co., Atlantic Gulf & Pacific Co., and Manila Golf & Country Club; Chairman and CEO of Interbank; and owner of Ding Velayo, Inc.

In addition to his active role in Philippine business, Mr. Velayo strongly believed in giving back to the community in order to create better opportunities for others. As President of the William J. Shaw Foundation and Chairman of the SGV Foundation, he set an example in donating funds, materials and facilities to public educational institutions as well as numerous organizations, especially those involved in improving the quality of education in the country.

The legacy of Mr. Velayo as a pioneer in the Filipinization of accountancy, a business leader, and an educator endures not only in SGV and in each of the companies he has managed throughout his seven-decade career, but also in the Philippine business landscape. Recognizing this achievement, the University of Santo Tomas established the UST Alfredo M. Velayo College of Accountancy in 2004. It is the university’s first degree-granting unit named after a private individual.

Mr. Velayo was a devoted husband to Harriett, his wife of 72 years; a loving father to their children: Kathy, Buddy, Mike, Rick and their families; and a doting grandfather to his grandchildren and great grandchildren.