Karen Chin Quee Akin enters next phase after fulfilling career
When GraceKennedy Limited’s history is written, the chapter on Karen Chin Quee Akin will be lengthy, chronicling the sterling contribution of the company’s first in-house senior legal counsel who has made an indelible mark on the success of one of the Caribbean’s foremost conglomerates.
The esteemed Chief Corporate Secretary/General Counsel retires on March 31, 2017.
Chin Quee Akin joined the GraceKennedy Group in 2003, armed with the expertise and discipline of working with the internationally renowned Bank of Nova Scotia, where she held the positions of General Manager, Corporate and Legal Services; and Corporate Secretary and Country Compliance Officer.
On arrival, her colleagues took immediate note of her dedication, energetic approach to problem-solving, meticulous attention to detail and excellent powers of recall. Those characteristics have come to define her among all with whom she comes in contact.
When her senior management colleagues were asked for words which adequately describe her, they sung a chorus of praises punctuated by words like: “meticulous”, “committed”, “thorough”, “multi-dimensional”, “dedicated”, “respectful”, and “organised”.
In addition to her organisational skills, they also spoke of razor-sharp wit, sense of humour and the size of her laugh that belies the little individual from whom it comes.
Professor Gordon Shirley, chairman of the board of GraceKennedy Limited, describes Chin Quee Akin as a “special person”, exceptional in her dual roles of corporate secretary and chief legal counsel. He acknowledged her efforts to always achieve and maintain the highest standards at all times.
“She has a good grasp of regulations and the relevant rules to be adhered to. She is a strict adherent to corporate governance codes and knows them well, often referring to them before offering her opinion,” he said.
He also said her ability to appreciate business issues and bring her legal perspective to bear on them has aided in the transformation of the GraceKennedy Group, providing guidance in its quest towards greater international transparency and visibility.
In speaking to her contribution, Don Wehby, Group CEO said:
“Her legal support was very good and she proved to be a technically most competent person in whom I have the utmost confidence. She has proved to be highly capable in non-legal matters and I often consult her in this regard before making final decisions. In human resources and strategic matters, I have found her to be very insightful.”
GraceKennedy won the JSE/PSOJ Best Practices Award for Corporate Governance in 2016, a most fitting accomplishment towards the end of Chin Quee Akin’s distinguished innings with the Company.
The company also pointed to her Roman Catholic faith, integrity, high ethical standards and humanity, saying she could always be relied on to go the extra mile or offer legal advice when sought out by her team members.
“She exhibited warmth and thoughtfulness, always expressing genuine care for the welfare of their family members, sharing their concerns and giving perspectives on the “right moves” for them to make when the way didn’t seem very clear,” GraceKennedy said of Chin Quee.