Mon | Oct 23, 2017

Leadership changes as new Berger owner takes over

Published:Wednesday | August 2, 2017 | 12:00 AMNeville Graham
Mustafa Turra, general manager of Berger Paints Jamaica Limited.

The acquisition of the regional assets of Berger Paints by Trinidadian conglomerate ANSA McAL wrapped up last Friday, and already, the boss of the Jamaica operation is off the board, and appears packing up his desk to make way for his replacement.

The current general manager, Mustafa Turra, was an appointee of former owner Asian Paints of India. Turra has headed the operation since May 2013 and is expected to depart by end-August, sources said.

Berger Paints Jamaica Director Mike Fennell, who chaired last Friday's annual general meeting, initially declined to speak about pending changes ahead of a board meeting that was set for last Friday afternoon. But on Monday, he then said he was "not authorised to speak" on the issue.

Turra said he and two other Asian-appointed directors have now given up their seats on the board, but he would not say what management changes were in process. A market filing indicates that the board also voted to align Berger Jamaica's reporting period with ANSA McAL's which adjusts its fiscal year end from March to December.

"The three executive directors who were on the board from the Asian Paints side - myself, Tom Thomas and Manish Choksi - have all resigned," Turra said.

 

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They have been replaced by ANSA McAL appointees - Group Finance Director Aneal Maharaj, Executive Director Ray Sumairsingh, and sector head for manufacturing Andy Mahadeo. Sumairsingh replaces Choksi as chairman of the Jamaican operation, while in Trinidad, Sumairsingh and Mahadeo also replaced Choksi and Thomas on the Berger Paints Trinidad board.

"As far as the management changes are concerned, there is something that is happening, but until that is finalised, we can't say more to the public at this time," Turra said, when asked whether he would remain general manager.

Well-placed sources told Gleaner Business, however, that management changes are imminent.

Berger is the top paint company in Jamaica, with annual sales last exceeding $2.3 billion. Its stock has traded publicly on the stock exchange since 1992, a decade before it was acquired by Asian Paints.

Through its 100 per cent acquisition of Lewis Berger Overseas Holdings, ANSA McAL now owns 100 per cent of Berger Paints Barbados Limited, 70 per cent of Berger Paints Trinidad Limited and 51 per cent of Berger Paints Jamaica Limited. The cash deal, executed through subsidiary ANSA Coatings International Limited, closed last week.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com