Mon | May 22, 2017

Sinclair heads to Miami as Price takes over Jamaica

Published:Friday | March 24, 2017 | 3:00 AMSteven Jackson
In this January 2012, Gleaner photo, Garfield Sinclair (left) consults with Stephen Price during a product launch in Kingston. Price will succeed Sinclair as managing director of Flow Jamaica on June 1, 2017.

A two-month leadership transition has been set in motion at Cable & Wireless Jamaica, which trades as FLOW.

Stephen Price has been promoted to managing director of the telecoms, effective June 1, replacing Garfield Sinclair, a former investment banker who has been one of the longest-serving bosses at the Jamaican telecoms.

Earlier this year, amid speculation as to whether FLOW's new owner and ultimate parent, Liberty Global, would retain Sinclair as country head, it was announced that he would be promoted to president of the Caribbean operations of Cable & Wireless Communications, which is FLOW's more immediate parent company.

It was also announced at the time that Sinclair would remain as head of the Jamaican operations, which meant he would remain ensconced in Kingston, and appeared to signal that Liberty meant to keep him around.

Now, Sinclair is bound for Miami where he will live and work in his continuing capacity as CWC-Caribbean president, having oversight of Jamaica and other markets.

In the past, such regional postings have sometimes led to former country bosses eventually separating from the telecoms, and are often considered a transitory move.

However, Sinclair told the Financial Gleaner that, unlike his predecessors, he will remain with CWC "for the foreseeable future".

As managing director for Jamaica, Sinclair reported over time to more than four different bosses based in Miami and three CWC CEOs based in London. The changes are based on the highly competitive nature of the industry.

Now, Sinclair will become one of those bosses. He says he plans to replicate the Jamaican operation's success across the region, and as such, his promotion should not be viewed as a strategy for his quiet exit from CWC.

Since 2010, Sinclair, an accountant and former investment banker, ran the local telecoms operations, increasing market share and leading the telecoms to post its first profit in a decade. Prior to Sinclair's appointment over the decade, no one kept the job longer than three years, arguably due to lacklustre results.

Price, who is rising from the position of vice-president of retail sales and distribution at FLOW, will rise to be the leader of more than 800 employees across the telecoms' consumer operations, which trades under the FLOW brand, and the business line, which operates as C&W Business.

He will also own responsibility for the financial performance, customer experience and reputation of the business.

Great ideas

"CWC is at a defining time in its history and Jamaica is a key part of that story. I am very excited about Stephen's appointment, as he has some great ideas that I believe will continue to grow our Jamaica business and take it to the next level," said Sinclair.

"Stephen and I will immediately embark on a programme to ensure a smooth leadership transition, which will culminate in him fully taking over the reins in June."

Price comes to the role with years of experience in the telecommunications industry, progressing through areas of the business spanning commercial, customer care, operations and marketing, and having spent over a decade with the Cable & Wireless team. In his current role, he manages the sales and distribution strategy for residential consumers, with direct accountability for 86 FLOW retail outlets and over 21,000 recharge points-of-sale islandwide.

"Garry has established a strong foundation for our business, positioning us as the leading converged telecommunications provider in the country. I look forward to building on this legacy by continuing the process of consolidating our operations, following our merger and subsequent acquisition," said Price in a company release on his appointment.

Price led the process of consolidating the retail footprint of FLOW and LIME in the wake of the mergerd CWC and Columbus businesses, an acquisition that preceded Liberty's purchase of the newly expanded group.

Price is described as a sales distribution strategist, whose fingerprints are on programmes to increase market penetration and innovation in Jamaica, St Lucia, St Vincent, and Barbados.

He has a record of community service as director of Start-up Jamaica Limited, Dream Entertainment Limited and Chow Society Limited. He is also a former commercial director of ICC Cricket World Cup West Indies 2017 Inc.

Sinclair first made his name in Jamaica as part of the team that worked with pioneering investment bank Dehring Bunting & Golding, which was sold and now operates as Scotia Investments.

As an investor in his own right, Sinclair banded with other veterans of DB&G to create the investment outfit called Proven. He also owns a small stake in the first REIT to list on the Jamaica Stock Exchange, Kingston Properties Limited, of which he is chairman. His investments in both outfits are held in Platoon Limited.

As managing director, Price is expected to join C&WJ's board. Sinclair, who is currently on the board, said he would retain his directorship.

stephen.jackson@gleanerjm.com