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The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) has a new governor. He is Richard Byles, a 40-year business and finance veteran. The announcement of his appointment came on Thursday, June 13 from the Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke.
Mr. Byles will take up office on August 19, 2019. He will succeed the current BOJ Governor, Brian Wynter.
Byles – A Qualified, Experienced and Credible Leader
The Finance Minister in his announcement outlined the process used to search for a suitable candidate to replace Brian Wynter as BOJ Governor. The search started in January 2019 with the appointment of a Search Committee chaired by Mr. David Marston. The process of recruiting Mr. Byles was described as “open and transparent”.
“I’m very pleased that the search process has yielded an eminently qualified, experienced and credible leader in Mr. Richard Byles…” the Finance Minister said.
The Finance Minister also expressed confidence that Mr. Byles will bring a focused, principled and disciplined leadership to his role as BOJ Governor.
Richard Byles’ 40-year Career
Indeed, Richard Byles is an accomplished corporate leader whose career in business and finance spans forty years. Since 1988, Byles was well-known as the Managing Director of Pan Caribbean Merchant Bank, a post he held for four years. In 1991, Byles was appointed to lead the Pan Jamaican Investment Trust Limited (Pan Jam) as its CEO. During his tenure which lasted thirteen years, the Pan Jam Group grew into a diversified conglomerate.
Later, in 2004 Richard Byles joined Sagicor Jamaica Life Limited as CEO. During his time with Sagicor Jamaica (which was formerly Life of Jamaica (LOJ) Limited), the entity grew through a series of acquisitions to become an insurance and banking giant. Thirteen years later, in 2017, Byles retired from the Sagicor Group but was appointed the group’s non-executive Chairman.
Richard Byles has held other significant corporate roles. He was the Chairman of Red Stripe, as well as non-executive Director in various other entities. Previously, Byles was appointed a Co-Chair of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) which has monitoring responsibility for Jamaica’s economic progress under the IMF’s 3-year Precautionary Stand-By Arrangement (SBA).
The new BOJ Governor holds a BSc. in Economics from the University of the West Indies (UWI). He also holds a BSc. in Economics and an MSc in National Development both from the University of Bradford, England.
During the transition period, a subcommittee at BOJ, led by Karen Chin Quee Akin, its General Counsel will assist Mr. Byles.