CL Financial bailout – The Governor speaks
by Afra Raymond
My last column on this important matter was published on 31st December, almost a month ago, with several major developments since then. The main development in my view is that we had some truly remarkable statements from the Governor of the Central Bank.
The messages on the CL Financial group are now so confused that the most charitable phrase possible, is that the public is getting ‘mixed messages’.
The Top-level resignations – The group CEO, Steve Bideshi – a former senior manager at Citigroup – was reported on 12th January to have tendered his resignation, effective 31st January. (See – Bideshi quits CL after 6 months or Trinidad Express article here)
We are told that his reason for resigning is the breakdown of negotiations for his compensation package. Our governments have a serious track-record of agreeing and then secreting the terms of compensation for its high-fliers. Just think of Caribbean Airlines, PetroTrin and UdeCOTT. It is unbelievable that government was unable to agree terms with this one CEO. Arguably, Mr. Bideshi was heading the largest and most complex group within the State’s control.
On 19th January, we were told that Michael Carballo, the group Finance Director, was resigning, also effective 31st January. (See – Guardian’s Another executive leaves CL Financial or Trinidad Express article here)
Carballo had the unique position of being the only senior executive to survive the crisis at the group and keep his position. We were not given any reason for his departure, but we were told that Carballo is to continue acting as a Director on CL Financial’s Board.
Bideshi and Carballo were the two top executives at CL Financial. What is going on?
To date there has been no proper explanation as to the causes of these major resignations or clear statement on the way forward. To have both the group CEO and Finance Director resign within a week of each other, effective within less than a month, speaks of turmoil and jostling. That kind of thing would not happen if the situation was stable. The purpose of this bailout was said to be the avoidance of systemic risk and the maintenance of confidence in our financial system. The official silence on this startling development only adds to the impression of ‘more in the mortar than just the pestle’.
… continue reading the full article at Afra Raymond’s blog article CL Financial Bailout – The Governor Speaks