Black Immigrant Daily News
Our pick for notable business personalities in 2022 includes leaders who set ambitious targets and achieved them, young, savvy investors making a mark in the local market and Jamaicans in the Diaspora investing in their homeland and making a name for themselves abroad.
Jeffrey Hall, CEO of Jamaica Producers Group
Jeffrey Hall, who chairs and heads a series of listed companies, just secured shareholder approval for the largest transaction of his professional life.
Hall is CEO of conglomerate Jamaica Producers Ltd (JP), which specialises in selling fruits, juices and shipping logistics.
Hall, in December, secured shareholder approval to merge with the real estate conglomerate PanJam Investments to create a combined entity with $115 billion in assets.
As a result of the deal, JP will hold the largest shareholding in PanJam, while PanJam will hold the assets of JP as a subsidiary. The merger will conclude before March 2023 and result in one of the largest companies on the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE).
Apart from JP, Hall holds chairmanships at Kingston Wharves and Lumber Depot. He recently resigned as the chair of Scotiabank due to the acquisition/merger with PanJam, which will result in JP indirectly acquiring shares in the rival bank and insurance company Sagicor Group Jamaica.
Hall holds a Juris Doctorate from the Harvard Law School, a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University, US and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Washington University, US.
Dr Trisha Bailey, Jamaica-born entrepreneur (Photo vai Trisha Bailey, Facebook)
Jamaica-bornDr Trisha Bailey, who migrated to the US at age 13 and recently made headlines having made the largest cash donation in history to the University of Connecticut, announced that she was cash back into her homeland.
The entrepreneur currently has in excess of US$41 million in real estate development projects underway and plans to construct a school in the town where she grew up, Woodland St Elizabeth. A medical equipment, supplies and pharmacy entrepreneur, Bailey has under construction 18 luxury condos in Red Hills, St Andrew, which will be priced between US$6 and US$8 million when they hit the market. Another 25 luxury units are slated for development in the area.
Bailey is also constructing a US$3 million beach home in Portland. The construction projects are being carried out by her real estate company, Bailey’s Choice Homes.
Courtney Campbell, CEO of VM
Courtney Campbell, President and Chief Executive Officer of Victoria Mutual (VM), led the group through one of its biggest missions in 2022.
Just last month, VM Group got the final nod from the Supreme Court to move ahead with its Scheme of Arrangement for the restructuring of the building society and its subsidiaries.
By the close of 2023, VM intends to establish a new financial holding company, VM Financial Group Limited, and a non-financial holding company, VM Innovations Limited, which will be held under a mutual holding company, VM Group Limited.
Campbell indicated the public should expect great things from the newly restructured VM Group next year, including the expansion of local and regional retail products, including an international debit card, all perks that come with the restructuring.
Kadeen Mairs, CEO of Dolla Financial
Kadeen Mairs serves as CEO of Dolla Financial Services Limited and chair of Dequity Capital Management Limited.
He is one of Jamaica’s youngest self-made billionaires based on the quoted value of his holdings.
Mairs built Dolla over the years with financial partnerships with Stocks & Securities and later FirstRock.
He has over a decade of financial sector experience spanning credit unions, commercial banks, and the capital markets.
He was a founding member of the microfinance institution M-Twentyfour Investments Limited. Interestingly, the M-24 loan book was acquired by Dolla in 2016, then an outside entity majority held by SSL.
Mairs steered the company towards higher margin business and slashed the company’s lower remittance, bill payments, and cambio division. Dolla instead redeployed that capital into microcredit services.
Dolla was listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange in June 2022 and raised capital to further deploy into the business. It later raised a $1 billion bond to expand its loans.
Dolla currently trades at a market capitalisation of $7.2 billion, with Mairs holding a 20 per cent stake through Dequity.
Dr David Walcott, Manaing Partner of Novamed
Rhodes scholar turned health-care entrepreneur Dr David Walcott sits as Managing Partner in Novamed, which earlier in 2022 closed a US$40 million deal for the acquisition of Knutsford Court Hotel.
The hotel is a popular destination for short stays, special events and conferences and was one of several properties held by hotelier Kevin Hendrickson under the Courtleigh Hospitality Group.
Knutsford Court’s acquisition marked the second deal within weeks involving Novamed.
The investment company was also part of another consortium negotiating to acquire the Medical Associates Hospital. Medical Associates is an adjacent property that lies south of the Knutsford Court Hotel.
Dr Walcott, a trained medical doctor, said the new owners would be changing the use of the hotel to a place where “businesses, individuals, and retail can come together”.
Attorney Able-Don Foote also manages Astronomical Holdings
Attorney Able- Don Foote gained experience in the halls of the courts of Jamaica and the region but expanded his reach to finance.
Foote founded and manages Astronomical Holdings, which serves as a vehicle to invest in other companies.
His holding company took a stake in the listed company Fontana in January. Foote fund holds 12.9 million units, the largest independent stake outside the Chang family. He acquired the shares at roughly $7.50, and the stock closed the year at $8.93, resulting in a $115 million value.
The unrealised gain since January equated to about $20 million. Market fluctuations saw the unrealised value of his investment jump 50 per cent as the stock rose to $12 in early February, but market turmoil reduced that unrealised gain back to current levels.
Foote also formed a contract with iCreate to buy a slice of that company. Details are unknown until the deal is complete.
Astronomical’s capital stands at over $710 million based on company filings, and 2023 will likely see more deals emerge from Foote as he puts that capital to work.
Jamaica-born Gary Stewart heads Techstarts as its managing director for a fund powered by JP Morgan.
Jamaica-born Gary Stewart, a Yale-trained lawyer, turned venture capitalist this year joined a tech venture capital fund in September 2022 as its managing director based in New York (NYC) to Shepard minorities to grow their business.
Stewart heads Techstarts as its managing director for a fund powered by JP Morgan, among the largest commercial and investment banks in the world.
Born in rural Jamaica to parents who migrated to NYC, Stewart never forgot his roots. He has been funding startups for more than a decade in structured funds in Spain via telephonica and then in the UK via the Royal Family.
Funding projects and tech companies became second nature to Stewart. Consequently, in 2022, he decided to return to NYC to focus on funding minorities.
Stewart’s isn’t only a win for Jamaica. It also serves as a pathway for other minorities seeking to grab executive positions in the tech field.
Stewart wants to fund startups, especially in the tech space in the US and abroad and invites businesses to pitch to him.
“I was the director of Wayra UK and Wayra Social Ventures, where we invested in 185 start-ups that by the time of my departure had raised US$267 million and were worth $1.1 billion,” he said on Linkedin.
In Spain, he closed contracts worth more than US$18 million with Telef?nica.
Stewart also works as an entrepreneurial lecturer. He redesigned and relaunched IE Business School’s accelerator for MBA students in Spain and taught entrepreneurial management courses to MBAs.