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Scotia Group reshapes management structure with deputy CEO

Published:Friday | November 18, 2016 | 12:00 AM
David Noel, newly appointed as Deputy CEO of Scotia Group Jamaica Limited.
Scotia Group President & CEO Jacqueline Sharp

Scotia Group Jamaica Limited has revived the position of deputy CEO and has picked a 15-year veteran to fill it, in what sources say is the most high-profile sign of changes under way at the 127-year-old banking group.

David Noel becomes the chief lieutenant of president and CEO Jacqueline Sharp, and reports directly to her.

His appointment effectively reshapes the management structure as Noel will have direct oversight of main business units, making the heads of those operations answerable to him.

"In view of my expanded regional responsibilities, increasing complexity of the financial services industry in Jamaica, and our digital transformation strategy, I am very pleased to announce David's appointment to the executive team in Jamaica," said Sharp in a press statement on Wednesday.

Sharp herself was recently handed an expanded portfolio when she was appointed head of the Caribbean Central and North regions by Scotia's Canadian parent.

She did not respond to verbal and written requests for comment up to press time.

The position of deputy CEO is not new. In fact, Minna Israel, who, a decade ago, had been widely expected to become the first female president of the bank, was among those who once held the title. Israel eventually became CEO, but of the Scotiabank Bahamas operations, in 2005, and later ended up running a rival banking outfit in Jamaica. Sharp eventually became the first female head of Scotia Group in 2013.

The deputy post is being revived as Scotia Group grows in size. The banking group is nearing a half trillion dollars in total assets, amid an aggressive push to grow its loan book.

Asked about the necessity of the deputy post, Scotia Group Chairman Jeffrey Hall said on Thursday that Noel's appointment fills a position that previously existed, and has become necessary again with Sharp's expanded role.

"With the range of strategic opportunities for the bank in Jamaica, David's international banking experience makes him a strong addition to Jackie's team," said Hall.

Noel began working at Scotiabank in 2001 as legal counsel. Seven years later, he was seconded to Toronto - in line with Scotiabank Canada's usual practice of exposing local executives to the workings of the international banking operations. Such persons are typically viewed as potential candidates for top promotions.

In Canada, Noel spent two years in Toronto, then was tapped in 2010 as district vice-president for East New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. In 2012, he rejoined Toronto as a member of the global risk management team.

He has been managing director in charge of Caribbean East from November 2013 to present.

His new job to be executed from Scotiabank Centre on the Kingston waterfront puts him in charge of retail and commercial banking, life insurance, investment management and brokerage, microfinance, and mortgages. Those businesses fall under subsidiaries such as Scotia Insurance Jamaica Limited, Scotia Investments Jamaica Limited, and Scotia Building Society, whose bosses will now be answerable to Noel.

"David brings a wealth of experience to the team and will help accelerate the execution of several strategic initiatives to continue to meet the evolving needs of our customers, and support our evolution to become a digital banking leader in Jamaica," Sharp said.

Scotia Group is Jamaica's No. 2 commercial banking group with assets estimated at $472 billion over the summer. Its loan portfolio was valued at $164 billion. The group is soon to release annual results for financial year ending October 2016, which seem set to outpace its 2015 performance. So far, at the nine-month mark, Scotia Group grew profit from $6.2 billion to $8.4 billion.