Byron Thompson declares his innings at Seprod
He might not have literally wielded a bat like Caribbean cricket legends, but Byron Thompson's innings were no less majestic.
After 41 years of service to Seprod, the last 15 as chief executive officer, Thompson has hung up his gloves and retired his bat. The board and management hosted a farewell for him at the Terra Nova All-Suite hotel on Tuesday.
Cricket (Thompson's sporting passion), was the evening's theme and Thompson even received a Brian Lara-signed bat with the Trinidadian writing 'Great Innings Byron'.
Chairman of Seprod, Paul Scott, lauded Thompson's commitment and dedication, revealing he had never missed a board meeting since becoming a director in 1991.
"That is 260 consecutive board meetings," he said. He quoted Warren Buffett who said, when you're looking to hire someone, you look for integrity, intelligence, and energy.
"Byron, you have always had all three of those qualities," he said. Another colleague, Paul Watson, recalled an incident where Thompson questioned him on a certain project, each query like a chest-high bouncer. But Watson said it was just Thompson's way of saying, "lift your game", as he was a stickler for details and proper execution.
Thompson's son, Jeffrey, related two tenets of his father's wisdom; there was no excuse for not doing homework and, go the extra mile in everything that you do. Like a steady batsman, Thompson took his time to say thanks for the outpouring of words.
"I am overwhelmed by the very kind remarks made about me tonight," said Thompson, admitting he never felt like staying home from work. "Because I love my job and I enjoyed working at Seprod." In choosing Seprod, Thompson said, "I have absolutely no regrets about the choice I made." He thanked every member of the Seprod team, from the board to the plant workers.
"I have every confidence that the company will continue to grow organically and financially," he said. "Keep up the good work, you have been a great team, and thank you."
Like any great team, when one great batsman heads back to the pavilion, another comes out to replace him. The event was also held to formally introduce the new boss, Richard Pandohie, who officially took over on January 1.
The former Carreras managing director lauded his predecessor for 'playing with a straight bat' and his immaculate shot selection in decision-making. He imparted Thompson's advice to him to "open my shoulders" and "take on the opposing bowler".
"And I shall do so," he promised.
Thompson began his career at Seprod as a plant chemist in 1973, and rose through the Seprod Group of Companies to become CEO and managing director in 1999. Thompson received several commendations from Seprod, as well as his business peers, for the integral role he and the Group of Companies played in boosting Jamaica's manufacturing landscape and, in particular, the agribusiness sector.