Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Wehby snags Moses as consultant

Published:Wednesday | May 3, 2017 | 5:00 AMNeville Graham
Peter Moses, retired banker, hired as consultant for GraceKennedy Financial Group on May 1.

GraceKennedy Group CEO Don Wehby has snagged the services of retired banker Peter Moses, who has been hired as a consultant for the financial group and will eventually take on the chairmanship of the conglomerate’s commercial banking business, subject to regulatory approval.

Wehby on Tuesday indicated that he considered the hire as a coup, saying Moses, who at end of March, wrapped up over 40 years of service to Citibank Jamaica, could have had his pick of assignments from opportunities in Jamaica and overseas.

“Peter Moses has been my mentor for many years. Upon hearing of his retirement, I quickly asked him if he could be a consultant to GraceKennedy and to me. I know that he’s had many offers both locally and internationally, so I am very happy or even ecstatic that he has decided to work with us as a consultant,” Wehby told Gleaner Business shortly after the announcement.

Moses’ appointment as consultant to GraceKennedy Financial Group Limited took effect on May 1. He will also act as a special advisor to the Group CEO on all matters relating to financial services within the wider GraceKennedy Group, the release said.

GraceKennedy is a food and financial services provider with businesses and markets spread across Jamaica, the Caribbean, United Kingdom, Europe and Africa.

Wehby indicated that one of Moses’ first assignments would involve GraceKennedy’s consideration of whether to bid for Jamaica’s second-largest airport, which the Government is in the process of divesting to private operators.

The conglomerate, through subsidiary GK Capital Management Limited, along with a foreign partner, was among the bidders for Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) at the first, failed round of privatisation. The conglomerate is weighing whether to make a second try at the airport concession in the current and ongoing efforts at privatising the state asset.

“One of the things that we’re looking at is the divestment ofNMIA,and whether we should participate and with whom ­ so he will be getting involved in that,” Wehbysaid.

“He will also be my adviser on any further Caribbean expansion as it relates to the GraceKennedy Financial Group and that would include our insurance services and our banking services,” Wehby said.

In the release, announcing Moses’ hire, GraceKennedy said the former Citibank country head would also be appointed to the boards of First Global Bank Limited and GraceKennedy Financial Group.He is later expected to step into the role of chairman of First Global Bank on the retirement of current chairman Douglas Orane later this year.

Wehby himself was successor to, Orane who ran the GraceKennedy conglomerate up to his retirement in 2011. Orane continued to serve the conglomerate through directorships, but now he wants to wind some of that down.

GOOD FIT

“Douglas is spending a lot of time in his philanthropic efforts with Wolmers and giving back to his community, and he has decided that he wants to do that some more. He indicated to me that he wanted to retire from the board of First Global Bank, so Peter Moses’ appointment fits in very nicely,” Wehby said.

He adds that Moses would be a good fit for the bank.

“First Global Bank has a clear strategy in being Jamaica’s most convenient bank and that is driven by a great staff, technology and innovation when it comes to things like agency banking, and video teller machines. We aim to give customers a world- class banking experience coming from an indigenous bank. We expect that Peter will be working with me and President Mariame Robinson to deliver that,” Wehby said.

First Global and Citi Jamaica are the smallest banks of seven in the market. They are valued respectively at $58 billion and $19 billion, by assets, in a commercial banking market worth $1.2 trillion.

Moses stepped down as head of Citi Jamaica on March 31, and was replaced by Eva Lewis. Alongside his decadeslong banking career, he also served as president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica and the American Chamber of Commerce of Jamaica.

Moses was not reached for comment.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com