Two CEOs of subsidiaries of NCB Financial Group (NCBFG), are leaving the Kingston, Jamaica-based company, less than three months after the two most senior executives of the group were asked to proceed on leave, by mutual agreement.
Departing the group is Septimus Blake, whose term as the CEO of National Commercial Bank Jamaica (NCBJ) comes to an end tomorrow.
The other executive to depart is Steven Gooden, CEO of NCB Capital Markets Ltd, which is the immediate parent of the NCB Merchant Bank (Trinidad and Tobago), the T&T non-bank financial institution and broker-dealer.
In notices published on the T&T and Jamaica stock exchanges, where the company is listed, NCBFG advised that Bruce Bowen would become the CEO of NCBJ effective October 1, 2023. Bowen is a former senior vice president of Scotiabank’s operations in the Caribbean and he also served as the CEO of Scotia Group Jamaica. He was appointed as a director of NCBJ effective September 26, 2023, and will continue in his capacity as a special advisor to the interim group CEO of NCBFG, Robert Almeida.
Almeida was appointed to the position shortly after the announcement on July 18 that the group CEO of NCBFG, Patrick Hylton, and his deputy Dennis Cohen, were proceeding on vacation leave for three weeks, by agreement.
The group’s decision to send its two most senior executives on leave came the day after NCBFG chairman, Michael Lee-Chin, prematurely returned from a leave of absence of approximately three months, that was announced on May 24.
In June, during his leave of absence, Lee-Chin sold 38,708,700 shares in NCBFG across the floor of the Jamaica Stock Exchange. The share sale, which accounted for about 2.5 per cent of the 1.5 billion shares of the group he owned, raised about US$17 million.
On August 10, NCBFG reported that its unaudited net profit for the nine months ended June 30, 2023, amounted to J$13.7 billion (about US$88 million), which was a 47 per cent or J$12.2 billion reduction from the prior year.
On September 11, the group disclosed that it was considering an Additional Public Offering (APO) of up to 300 million new shares in NCBFG, aimed at raising capital for the financial services group.
In an interview with the Guardian yesterday, Lee-Chin explained that the departure of Blake and Gooden was as a result of NCBFG deciding to “delayer” the group, which he described as a transformational initiative designed to bring the company and its subsidiaries closer to its customers.
“Sometimes stars align as companies periodically change their bearings and people may want to go on to do other things... We did not push out anyone,” said Lee-Chin.
He said that simultaneous with the delayering of the group, a decision had been taken to hive off the wealth management business from NCB Capital Markets.
“We are putting wealth management on its own with an independent focus and its own growth trajectory.”
Asked whether NCBFG had come to a settlement with Hylton and Cohen, Lee-Chin said that that was “a work in progress”.
In its notices, NCBFG said it appreciated the contributions of Blake and Gooden.