Loida Nicolas Lewis, Filipino American billionaire
Loida Nicolas-Lewis is probably the richest Filipino living outside her home country. She is the chairman and CEO of TLC Beatrice International Holdings, Inc., a two-billion-dollar corporation of 64 companies based in 31 countries. TLC is a marketer of ice cream in Spain and the Canary Islands, the leading manufacturer of potato chips in Ireland, and a prime distributor of beverage in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Thailand.
A lawyer by profession, Loida is also an author, a philanthropist, and an active leader of the Filipino community in the United States. She owns the distinction of having been the first Asian woman to pass the New York State bar exam without having studied law in the U.S. As a businesswoman, she was ranked number 1 among the "Top 50 Women Business Owners in America" by the Working Woman magazine in 1994.
In the United States, she is known as the remarkable woman behind the success of Reginald Lewis, the first Afro-American to hit the US$1B-in-assets mark. In January 1993, Reginald died of brain cancer. So revered was Loida's love for her late husband and "tutor" that she later wrote a book, entitled "Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun? How Reginald F. Lewis Created a Billion Dollar Business Empire." It sold several hundred thousand copies.
Reginald's untimely death left Loida with the responsibility of raising their two daughters alone and taking care of the family business. She finished her AB course at the Saint Theresa's College and her law degree at the University of the Philippines.