Gov't fills CEO vacancies at e-Learning Jamaica and USF

Senior staff reporter

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

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As the Ministry of Science and Technology moves to reorganise its management structure following the Petrojam scandals, two senior executive positions have been filled since the start of the year.

On January 2, the Universal Service Fund (USF) announced the selection of a new CEO in Daniel Dawes, who joined the agency the same day.

A day later, January 3, e-Learning Jamaica Company Limited (e-LJam) welcomed Keith Smith as its new chief executive officer (CEO).

Smith is a veteran of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry with over 29 years of senior executive experience, in both the public and the private sectors. He holds a first degree in electrical and computer engineering from the UWI, and an MSc in telecommunication and information systems from the University of Essex, in Colchester, England.

Smith is a Kingston College old boy who, prior to joining e-LJam, held executive positions with Cable and Wireless Jamaica (CWJ), Digicel, Air Jamaica, Adjoint Business Solutions Limited and the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) Limited. He also provided consulting services to TSTT in Trinidad and Tobago.

In a meeting with the chairman of the e-Learning board, Christopher Reckord, and members of the management team, Smith expressed that he is committed to setting demanding goals and empowering the team to work effectively together, according to a release from e-Learning.

“e-LJam has a critical role to play in the transformation of the educational learning processes in Jamaica, and the team is going to implement the policies of the Government,” Reckord said.

“Keith is joining the organisation at a critical time, as we are about to embark on our most ambitious project in our existence. Deployment, distribution and implementation of thousands of devices to hundreds of schools across the island require the type of no-nonsense leadership that Keith Smith brings to the table,” Reckord added.

The USF advertised the position of CEO in the Jamaica Observer and The Gleaner on September 5 and 9, 2018, respectively, before making the choice.

The closing date for applications was September 21. Thirty-seven applications were received by the deadline, with seven individuals shortlisted for psychometric evaluation, conducted by an independent external firm.

Of that number, six candidates were successful in advancing to the second round of evaluation, which included panel interviews conducted over a two-day period. The four-member panel included experts in information technology and staff engagement, as well as an independent member — a retired civil servant with over 33 years' experience in human resource management, human resource development and change management.

From the six candidates the top three individuals, based on assessment, were further shortlisted. On the basis of the overall scores for each candidate (psychometric testing and interview scores), Dawes emerged with the highest score, and was recommended to the board by the chairman.

Dawes possesses a masters in public health, a masters in business administration and years of experience working in the public service.

e-Learning is responsible for promoting the integration and infusion of technology in the education system and the distribution of tablets to schools. The USF has been mandated to ensure access to information and communication tools to facilitate development since 2005.

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