When he was appointed Group CEO of GraceKennedy (GK) in 2011, Don Wehby reached the pinnacle of a 17-year journey. He joined as Group Finance Manager in 1995 and rapidly moved up before taking the top job on July 1, 2011. Wehby revealed his first love was the sciences, but fourth form changed his career goals.
"At St George's College in fourth form, you had a choice between Spanish, Accounts and another subject," he explained.
"I just fell in love with accounts. I call accounting the heart of any business." He got critical work experience at auditing firm Touche-Ross Thorburn (now Deloitte & Touche).
"I made up my mind very early that any chance that I got to get working experience, I would take it," he said, something he recommends to young people. Wehby said the 'game-changing moment' of his career came at Desnoes and Geddes (D&G). It was there he realised he wanted more out of finance and craved "to run a big company".
Wehby has excelled, overseeing some major initiatives, including acquiring Trafalgar Commercial Bank (now First Global Bank) and starting the group's stockbroking company. In 2007, he resigned his posts to serve for two years as a government senator and minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Finance.
"I found it to be a great benefit and privilege to serve my country at the highest level," said the proud Vice President of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica and Chairman of its Economic Policy Committee. This nationalist is dedicated to contributing to Jamaica's development and sustainable growth.
"I'm in love with Jamaica", he said, proudly noting both his accounting degrees were at the UWI. Taking over GK has its challenges but Wehby said his first goal was to redefine the vision "as a global consumer group".
"That means 15 per cent of our sales in three difference continents, half our profits outside Jamaica and to leverage our relationship with our international partners, which is primarily Western Union." To achieve the group's 2020 goals, GK has started fulfilling its 'value drivers' including refocusing on consumers (consumer centricity), investing in technology (operational efficiency), and accountability culture. It's his job to get everyone on board.
"As a Group CEO, that's one of the most important things. To ensure you have the right people in the right place, fully aligned with your vision," he said.