Government's decision to remove Mike Wylie as Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Petroleum could cost the company as much as $3 million.
Wylie was fired by the Keith Rowley administration on Thursday after a protracted sick leave kept him away from the job for over two months.
He has cancer and is currently recovering from major surgery and has been advised by his doctors not to travel to T&T until his treatment is complete.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley also removed the company's chairman, Wilfred Espinet and three other Board members. The Prime Minister named his private attorney Michael Quamina as the new chairman.
Wiley was retained by Heritage after a lengthy search by an international recruitment company, Egon Zehnder International, between June 28, 2018 and August 21, 2018.
The firm was paid $4,554,813.97 to recruit him.
Wylie was retained in August 2018 but was absent from the country on extended sick leave for the past two months.
On Tuesday Guardian Media reported that a committee had been appointed to manage the day-to-day affairs of the company in Wylie's absence. Wylie has been out of the country for the last two months following a diagnosis of a serious illness, but sources said his prognosis looks good and he has been working from his home in Texas.
While Board member Nigel Campbell has been acting in the CEO’s position, the Board met last week and agreed that the arrangement was not good enough and that a committee including senior management, Board members, and Wylie would be formed to oversee the day-to-day operations of the state company.
That decision was placed before Government since August 13. There was no immediate response until Thursday when Cabinet took the decision to remove Espinet, three other Board members, and Wylie.
Guardian Media understands that Espinet also clashed with the Government over a directive to remove PricewaterhouseCoopers as the company's auditors.
According to a senior insider PwC "provided outsourcing financial accounting services for the companies and recruitment services as well."
In an interview on Friday, Espinet said he was not upset by the Government's sudden move on Thursday to revamp the entire Board and remove him, but said he hoped that Finance Minister Colm Imbert has made the right decision.
Imbert, in his capacity as Finance Minister, acts as the shareholders representative.
"I have no issues if the shareholders representative has judged he had a better way," Espinet said in a WhatsApp exchange with Guardian Media yesterday.
"I consider it to be an imperative that he made the decision if he considered it to be a more productive approach. He is compelled to do what's in the best interest of the company and the country.
"I am not upset about how things were handled. If what was done will produce enhanced results then I will be the first to congratulate," he said.
Espinet refused to weigh on his replacement, Michael Quamina.
"I make no judgment on that," he said but added that he had heard the "opinion expressed" that Quamina may not have the experience necessary to run an energy company.
He said there would be no financial profit for him in all of this and said there were no rules governing a payout as he was fired.
"Are you hinting that what goes around comes around? I never took any pay or fees or anything. We did this because we thought it will benefit all, all, all," he said.
The new structure of Heritage Petroleum also includes Arlene Gorin-George who served as press secretary to Prime Minister from 2015 until two months ago when she was retained.
Gorin-George is now the head of Internal Communications at Heritage.
Just last year, just before the restructuring of Petrotrin into four separate companies, Espinet oversaw the hiring of Chinese-national Chyau Lin. Lin signed a contract but before he worked one day, was paid off some $1.7 million because his post had become redundant.