High marks for new Chinese boss at Frome
The leadership style of Liu Chaoyu, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Pan Caribbean Sugar Company (PCSC), is earning her positive reviews among stakeholders along the Frome sugar belt, which covers sections of Westmoreland and Hanover.
"There is definitely a big difference at Frome with the new leadership of Ms Liu (Chaoyu)," said Allan Rickards, chairman of All-Island Jamaica Cane Farmers Association (AIJCFA).
"There is a difference in approach, in practical, pragmatic management, and in the way she and her team relate to the communities and to the people."
Added Rickards: "People are encouraged and the factory is performing better than it has done in the past ten years, so there is a lot to look forward to."
Liu, who comes with over 20 years experience in management of sugar operations, particularly in Africa, took charge of the Jamaican operation in December and immediately began putting together a comprehensive outreach programme, which she plans to present to her board of directors in July.
"The culture barrier does exist, including our language, and this is making the communication between our people difficult at times, but we believe it is important to combat this," Liu told The Gleaner in a recent interview.
"Our management styles and legal framework are also different, which has been a major challenge in some instances."
Added the PCSC boss: "What I can assure you is that as an enterprise, we will no longer close our doors and not talk ... . We will remain open to the community people and to the media ..., (but) this does not mean that we won't apply our rules strictly. At the same time, we want them to feel our kindness and our hospitality."
Cane farmers who constantly complained about the abrasive attitude of the Chinese prior to Liu's arrival are now singing a different tune, praising her inclusive approach.
"It is what everyone is talking about. She did her homework and realised that she can be firm, but friendly," said cane farmer Ainsley Waugh.
"We will have to do more to help them fight the cane fires just to say thanks."
Frome started production on December 12, and as of Monday, produced 12,892 tonnes of sugar. Their projected target is 28,000 tonnes.