Sagicor confirms Richard Byles’ departure
Sagicor Jamaica executives yesterday confirmed Wednesday’s Jamaica Observer news story that president and chief executive officer of the group, Richard Byles, will be retiring from office on April 30 and will be replaced by businessman Christopher Zacca.
Chairman of Sagicor Group Jamaica, Danny Williams, made the disclosure at a press conference in New Kingston, where he also announced that Byles will, in fact, be taking over his position as head of the board, as he too will be retiring from that post on June 1.
Speaking at the press conference, which was called ahead of its scheduled date in the wake of the
Observer’s report, Zacca said he supports Sagicor’s position on the controversial general consumption tax on group health insurance premiums that is being imposed by the Government.
“I fully support Sagicor’s position that it is not the right thing to do. Speaking as the former chairman of the National Health Fund, I think it is going to damage the public health sector by putting more burden on the sector, which is totally underfunded,” stated Zacca, who takes office on May 1.
The Government has already indicated that it does not intend to roll back the levy on group health insurance premiums, which is supposed to bring in $1.88 billion of its $13.5-billion tax package that the Opposition has labelled as “devastating” to poor Jamaicans.
Meanwhile, Byles, who co-chaired the Government’s International Monetary Fund mandated Economic Programme Oversight Committee up to November 2016, stated that his 13 years as head of one of the country’s major health insurance companies had been a “tremendous journey”.
“Whilst I am very prepared and happy to change gear, it is very hard to leave what I have done for 13 years without a lot of sentiment. In the process of the last 13 years, we have built a great company; – I lay that at the feet of the team that have worked with me,” he said.
Byles was appointed president and CEO of Sagicor Life Jamaica Limited (formerly Life of Jamaica Limited) in March 2004.
— Alphea Saunders