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Access granted

Published:Sunday | January 11, 2015 | 12:00 AMTyrone Thompson
Brian Goldson

Former chairman of the board of Access Financial Services, Brian Goldson, has left the company in a strong financial position and with no regrets over his action which sparked a bitter boardroom and legal battle.

"I don't regret any decision that we took, and at the time that we took it, it was the right decision," declared Goldson, who led the Access board through a tumultuous period, which saw members of the board of the microfinancing company and its founder and chief executive officer, Marcus James, in a bitter battle.

"Having sold our shares and the circumstances under which these shares were sold, it only follows that I submit my resignation," Goldson told The Sunday Gleaner late last week after the announcement by Mayberry Investment that it had sold its 100 million units of shares in the financial entity for approximately $955 million.

The circumstances which Goldson hinted at included the impasse between some board members and James, who was stripped of his responsibilities as CEO before being restored by the courts.

The board's action stemmed from James' decision to spend $33 million to upgrade the head offices of the company allegedly without the expressed authorisation of the board.

NO REGRETS

Despite the public squabbles, however, Goldson was resolute that he had no regrets in the way the board handled its matters.

Goldson admitted that the public fallout involving some board members and James was a difficult period, yet he contended that this was not allowed to interfere with the day-to-day management of the company.

"When you have a situation that we were going through, personal relationships are not going to be warm and fuzzy. In fact, it was a rather difficult period and the option that we exercised was to exit the company," said Goldson.

"Nevertheless, when you look at the performance of the company during 2014, you will realise that the company's performance was not compromised during that difficult period, because the relationship at the board level was always professional. We agreed as a board that despite what was going on in the court, as a board, we would focus on the issues that affected the company."

Goldson was positive that his tenure at Access Financial between 2007 and 2014 was good for the company and was evident in the exponential growth achieved during the period.

"I admire Marcus (James) for taking a very mature decision at a very young age to go to outsiders (Mayberry Investments) in an attempt to grow the company he had started. Mayberry bought up a substantial number of shares in the company, and in 2007, I was appointed and those decisions I think laid the platform for the exhilarated growth that the company recorded."

Goldson assured The Sunday Gleaner that he had left the company in good financial shape for all its current and future investors, but admitted that he was looking forward to being away from it.

"At this point, I'm taking a little break. [2014 was] a rather stressful year and I'm looking forward to spend this downtime with my family. I have other investments and other things in the pipeline, but one thing is for sure, what was going on was a distraction and I'm glad it's behind me now."

tyrone.thompson@gleanerjm.com