One of Jamaica’s long time business tycoons, Dr Marshall McGowan Hall, has died.
The businessman, who led the conglomerate Jamaica Producers Group (JPG) for years and chaired one of Jamaica’s oldest insurance companies, the now defunct Mutual Life, passed peacefully early this morning (November 22).
Dr Hall was most recognised for his association with the JPG, where he served as director for more than 40 years and as group managing director for 27 years.
Current JPG CEO Jeffrey Hall, in reflecting on his father’s passing, shared: “My father was above all a family man. He was a leader, a protector, and a selfless champion for his family and for the people at the institutions with which he was affiliated. He did this with sincerity and humility and humour and wisdom and hard work. He showed us how to break down barriers and taught us not to see limits. This was his gift to us, and we truly loved him for it. We will forever miss him.”
Stint in academia
The elder Hall had two full careers. First, he was an academic economist, graduating from Columbia University in New York in 1957 and the University of Wisconsin, where he earned his PhD in 1960. He served as a faculty member of the University of Wisconsin in the United States and Makerere University in Uganda and as a full professor of economics at Washington University in St Louis Missouri.
Dr Hall returned to Jamaica in 1972 and served as the ean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of the West Indies Mona and as head of the Department of Management Studies, a precursor to the Mona School of Business. He is published extensively in the world’s leading academic journals in the field of microeconomics and institutional economics.
He also served as chairman of the University of the West Indies Mona Campus Council and a member of the Council of the University of the West Indies.
After his academic career, Dr Hall pursued a career in business and government leadership.
He served as chairman and chief executive officer of the Jamaica Public Service and as chairman of the Jamaica Development Bank (the precursor to the Development Bank of Jamaica) and chairman of National Commercial Bank and Mutual Life.
He was also chairman of the Caribbean Policy Research Institute and a member of the West Indian Commission, the Police Service Commission, Police Civilian Oversight Authority and served very recently as a director of the Caribbean Maritime University. During his executive leadership of JPG, he was credited with implementing thousands of acres of large-scale modernised banana production in Jamaica and leading the development of a best-in-class, industrial-scale UK distribution platform for fresh fruit.
These initiatives sustained the Jamaican banana industry and served as a major contributor to national employment and export foreign exchange earnings for decades.
Dr Hall also championed the international trade fight for access for bananas grown across the African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries into the European Union and was seen as a global leader in this arena.
His executive leadership was critical to the rise of the modern Jamaica Producers Group, now one of Jamaica’s leading conglomerates.
Reflections on Dr Marshall Hall
Current JPG Chairman Charles Johnston, in giving his reflections on his departed longtime business colleague, said: “Marshall and I became a team in 1986 and since that time I always had the greatest respect for his calm, his wisdom, and his ethical behavior in the conduct of international and local commerce. He was also a personal friend, a true friend who could be relied on in the difficult times. Marshall and Jean believed in family and their values will live on with Allyson, Andrea, and Jeffrey.”
In recognition of his lifetime of business leadership and public service, Dr Hall was awarded membership in the Order of Jamaica and the Order of Distinction in the Rank of Commander and was inducted into the Private Sector Hall of Fame.
He was born in Rollington Town, Kingston in 1934 and was educated at Kingston College.
He was a committed family man, married to Dr Jeanette Hall for more than 60 years.
He has three children (Dr Allyson Hall, Andrea Perkins, and Jeffrey Hall), four grandchildren (Gillian, George, Jei Han and Li Ann), in-laws Dr Swee Chua and Paul Perkins, a close extended family, colleagues, and friends.