Sir Paul Altman resigns, no ICBL dividends

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Businessman and real estate developer Sir Paul Altman is the latest member of the board of directors of ICBL to tender his resignation.

In the most recent file and public notice, the Insurance Corporation of Barbados (ICBL) which was sold to Canadian investors Paynes Bay Finance Inc., announced that Sir Paul had resigned from ICBL’s board effective November 20.

The notice, which was signed by Chief Executive Officer Geoffrey Scott did not indicate if there was a replacement for Sir Paul.

The development comes as the former state-owned entity disclosed that it would not be paying an interim dividend to shareholders for the financial year ending December 31, 2020.

Sir Paul’s resignation is the fourth since the deal between ICBL’s former owner BF&M out of Bermuda, and Paynes Bay Finance was announced earlier this year.

In September, longstanding directors Juanita Thorington-Powlett and Toni Jones had offered their resignations from the board.

Thorington-Powlett, a retired permanent secretary, has been a longstanding ICBL director, serving on the board since 2001. Highly regarded for her expertise, she has also been a director of the Caribbean Development Bank and in January, she along with businessman Mark Maloney were appointed to the board of LIAT.

Jones, an attorney at law who submitted her resignation on September 15, has been replaced by James S. Edghill a Barbadian property development consultant and one of key figures behind the $260 million Hyatt Centric Hotel project planned for Bridgetown.

Thorington-Powlett was replaced by Vicky Bathija, a businessman who has kept a low profile and has a very limited digital footprint.

Since the board shake-up in September, chairman and head of BF&M John Wight tendered his resignation from the company.

BF&M bought the majority stake in ICBL in 2005 for almost US$26 million when Government sought to divest some of its investments in state corporations.

However, on the announcement of BF&M’s sale of ICBL, Wight described ICBL as an “excellent investment that had run its course over the past 15 years”.

The other board members are chief executive officer Geoffrey Scott, Gouldbourne Alleyne, Gordon J. Henderson and Jennifer Hunte, the acting director of National Insurance Scheme (NIS), which has four million shares in the ICBL.

Recently, deputy chairman of the NIS Avinish Persaud announced that the scheme would not be selling its shares in ICBL which would have netted the almost $7.1 million.

In the current takeover bid offer, ICBL’s board is offering shareholders $1.78 per common share while the stock last traded at $3 per share on the Barbados Stock Exchange, where it is listed.

One of the island’s largest insurance providers, ICBL had been dogged by a scandal involving its former Chief Executive Officer Ingrid Innes and another senior executive Alex Tasker who were named in bribery allegations which have since led to the criminal conviction in the United States of former Government Minister Donville Inniss.

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