JAM | Jan 2, 2023

Business moguls to watch in 2023

/ Our Today

Reading Time: 7 minutes

As Corporate Jamaica enters 2023, players in the business community have been making significant moves aimed at ensuring success and taking their companies to the next level. With that in mind, Our Today has picked out just a few of the business minds to watch out for this year as they make multimillion-dollar deals and push the boundaries of achievement.

Jeffrey Hall

Jeffrey Hall

Less than two months ago, the Jamaica Producers Group (JP) and PanJam Investment announced that they would be merging in an agreement that will see the amalgamation of their businesses to create a powerful new group of companies.

Shortly after, both companies revealed that their shareholders had given the thumbs up to the move which will result in the formation of Pan Jamaica Group Limited.

Once the deal is done, Jeffrey M. Hall, the current chief executive officer of JP, will lead the new mega group as CEO and executive vice chairman of the board of directors.

Hall, who has worked with JP since 2002, is also chairman of Kingston Wharves Limited and a member of the Board of Directors of several companies including Blue Power Group Limited (which he was appointed chairman of in 2022) and the National Housing Trust. He has served as a director of the Jamaica Stock Exchange and the Bank of Jamaica and recently retired after six years as chairman of Scotia Group Jamaica Limited.

Hall, the holder of a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School, a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University, USA and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Washington University, USA, will surely be making headlines this year as he leads Pan Jamaica Group on the start of its journey.

Gary Peart

Gary Peart

Businessman Gary Peart has been operating and excelling in his field for more than 20 years. He currently serves as the CEO of Mayberry Investments Limited, as well as the chairman of Supreme Ventures Limited.

Having amassed a wealth of achievements throughout his career, Peart sits on various boards across multiple industries, including, but not limited to Lasco Distributors Limited; Ironrock Insurance Brokers Limited and the Jamaica Stock Exchange.

Prior to his appointment as chairman to SVL in 2019, Peart was appointed to the board of directors the same year. He successfully guided the 2022 staging of the Mouttet Mile, which carried a purse of US$125,000. Additionally, Peart, through the Supreme Ventures Foundation, relaunched the Supreme Ventures ‘Supreme Heroes’ programme, which highlights a select number of citizens across the breadth of Jamaica, who have consistently given back to their communities, despite financial setbacks they have faced.

Peart holds a B.Sc. (Hons) in Economics from the University of the West Indies and an MBA from Florida International University. The savvy businessman is also a proud member of the Rotary Club of St. Andrew North.

Christopher Berry

Christopher Berry

Christopher Berry was appointed executive chairman of Mayberry Investments Limited in 1993, having joined the company eight years earlier.

The prominent businessman has, throughout his extensive chairmanship, led countless successful listings on the Jamaica Stock Exchange. Berry’s passion for investments and the stock market has propelled him to the top as one of Jamaica’s most trusted advisors.

He and his team have recently rolled out their latest bond prospectus, where they are seeking to raise J$5 billion. This bond has a buy-in of J$20,000 with four tranches, and so, subscribers are advised to take advantage of this opportunity while they can.

Berry currently sits on the Apex Health Care Associates Limited, Apex Pharmacy Limited, Lasco Financial Services Limited, Caribbean Producers (Jamaica) Limited and IronRock Insurance Company Limited Boards, and boasts 30 years experience in the securities industry.

Ryan Reid

Ryan Reid

Ryan Reid is the executive chairman and co-founder of First Rock Group of Companies, which he founded alongside Dr Michael Banbury.

Ryboy, as he is affectionately called, is also co-principal of several companies, including Dolla Financial Services, Dream Entertainment Limited, Xodus Carnival Company Limited, Innovative Systems Limited, Growth Tech Group Limited, and Ultra Financier Limited. All these companies combined holld well in excess of US$100 million in assets with 150-plus employees.

Reid has been able to list two companies within his group in two years on the Jamaica Stock Exchange and word has it that he will be seeking to list two in the coming year and cross list another.

Reid, who has proven himself to be a rainmaker and deal closer, credits his strength in his post transaction/acquisition management, crafting of operating and board level policies and, more importantly, the hiring of good talent.

His companies operate not only in Jamaica, but in Guyana, Barbados, The Cayman Islands, the United States, Costa Rica and The Bahamas.

Nayana Williams

Nayana Williams

The Lifespan Co Ltd, bottlers of the world renowned Lifespan spring water, experienced a tough but fulfilling 2022. The company’s revenue grew in comparison to 2021 and 2020, allowing it to arise like a Phoenix from the ashes, emerging stronger, smarter and more determined to be the #1 spring water in the Caribbean.

The supply chain disruptions, which escalated in 2021 limited its ability to meet the consumer demand for its high alkaline and mineral enriched spring water, significantly limiting its ability to fulfil orders, satisfy consumers and drying up its cash flow. Lifespan was resolute in its efforts to regain its position in the market and these were some of its highlights and accomplishments for 2022:

Revenue growth over 2021. This was significant as for most months of the year, consumer demand remained unfulfilled.

Given the unprecedented increase in shipping costs and resin, Lifespan managed to take only one price increase during the year. This necessitated stringent cost controls throughout the organisation, except in the area of quality, which saw additional investment, especially for the five-gallon business.

Lifespan cemented itself as a global leader in quality by being awarded Monde Selection’s Grand Gold award for the third consecutive year – 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Significant operational changes resulted in reduction of operational cost vs. the previous year.

Despite the challenges, distributor and customer relationships remained intact and upon the resumption of supplies, there was no loss in consumer demand.

The company expanded its Kingston retail operation from a 1,400 sq ft to a more centrally located 5,000 sq ft space, improving our ability to service residential and corporate clients.

For her business acumen and community development activities, Nayana Williams, CEO of Lifespan, was awarded the Order of Distinction in the rank of Officer. In addition Williams authored and launched her first book.

What’s next for Williams and Lifespan? Exports. Lots of exports. Lifespan is making investment in equipment and market relationship to significantly expand its number of export markets.

She says new products are well into development to offer the market new and exciting offerings emanating from the aquifers of the Blue Mountains.

Williams says that, with the company overcoming its challenges, customers can also look forward to a sustained and consistent presence on the shelves.

Lititia Myers-Gray

Lititia Myers-Gray

Lititia Myers-Gray, the former president and CEO of Beryllium Limited, last November launched ECHE Limited, a strategic solutions company in the payments industry.

ECHE Limited was formed through Myers-Gray’s signing of an equity deal with PROVEN Group Limited through its wholly owned company PROVEN Investments Holding Limited. 

ECHE, was launched on November 22 and is expected to bring industry experts together on a journey to revolutionise the cash and payments industries. Among many services, the multimillion-dollar equity deal, powered by PROVEN, will see ECHE optimising Jamaica’s ATM network through its information technology-enabled services and payment solutions.

With the global cash logistics market estimated to be US$23 billion in 2021 and expected to reach US$24.63 billion by the end of 2022, businesses internationally are seeking innovative ways to manage cash, which involves integration with technology and artificial intelligence to support the growing need for safer solutions.

With that in mind, Myers-Gray, ECHE’s founder and CEO, has said that, “in order to keep up with the pace at which the world is evolving, Jamaica needs innovation”.

“We are creating a new industry with innovative services that will support banks and businesses as they transition from cash to digital – it’s the start of a great voyage for the industry,” she said.

During its launch phase, ECHE aims to introduce a variety of agile cash management services and digital payment services. ECHE’s focus on technology-enabled services is expected to bring Jamaica, and soon the entire Caribbean, into the future with its seamless, service-driven solutions.

Kadeen Mairs

Kadeen Mairs

Kadeen Mairs has been widely regarded as a visionary entrepreneur and strategist whose philosophy of “solving problems and creating businesses with the solutions” has resulted in extraordinary business success and inspiring initiatives.

In 2016, at the age of 24, after retiring from his banking ambitions at National Commercial Bank as a then supervisor with credit experience, Mairs borrowed money to start his own microfinance institution called M24 Investments Limited. Three years later, he sold the assets of the then medium size lending outfit to the second oldest stock brokerage firm in Jamaica – Stocks & Securities Limited with assets under management (AUM) then exceeding J$200 million. At the time, Stocks & Securities Limited had a subsidiary called Dolla Financial Services Limited, a micro credit company, which Mairs was appointed chief executive officer. Within four years, Dolla grew exponentially, to a more than J$350-million loan portfolio under management, disbursing more than J$1.2 billion in loans. By 2020, Dolla Financial Services was one of the most respected and well-established microfinance institution in Jamaica with seven branches islandwide.

Just recently, Dolla Financial Services successfully raised over J$1 billion in additional capital on the Jamaican bond market for its continued expansion.

Mairs, speaking at Dolla’s Jamaica Stock Exchange listing ceremony, said “Our balance sheet was healthy, so we said to Victoria Mutual Wealth Management, ‘We want to raise J$1 billion’. As our financial advisors, they undoubtedly reminded us of the current financial climate and how tough that would be. We opened the bond on September 1, 2022, and exercised the right to upsize on October 5 and closed on October 18, after we successfully raised J$1.17 billion. Now Dolla has the money to expand to The Bahamas, and to the Eastern Caribbean. We have been capitalised to fund Ultra Financier Limited, our asset-based lender, and are still able to reserve capital for acquisition opportunities.”

With its funds raised, Mairs and Dolla can expect to be making big moves in 2023.


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