Business

Board changes at SSL

BY ALEXIS MONTEITH
Observer writer

Sunday, November 17, 2019

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SSL Venture Capital Jamaica Limited (SSLVC) has seen a number of departures from its board of directors over the past two months. This began in September when on the 13th of that month Mark Croskery resigned as chairman and CEO of the company to pursue other opportunities.

Croskery had been with the wealth management and stock brokerage firm since 2006 when he was appointed deputy general manager and eventually leadership of the business transitioned from his father, Hugh Croskery, to him.

Hugh Croskery remains with the SSL Group as chairman.

Following the departure of Mark Croskery, Zachary Harding joined the business and was appointed group CEO of SSL Growth Equity Limited, CEO of SSLVC and CEO of Stocks and Securities Limited on September 16, 2019.

Harding is the founder of Hyperion Equity LLC, “a private investment firm that specialises in sourcing and placing capital in unique, proprietary investment opportunities”. Hyperion is reported to have taken a stake in SSL Group and SSL Growth Equity Limited (Barbados).

At the same time as the arrival of Harding, the board of SSLVC was further shored up on September 16, 2019 when Jeffrey Cobham, the executive chairman of Stocks and Securities Limited was appointed chairman of SSLVC.

But before the end of September it was further announced that Richard Forbes had resigned as a director from the board of SSLVC's portfolio company, Muse 360 Integrated Limited effective September 25, 2019, while on September 27, 2019 director, Cecile Watson, resigned from SSL Venture Capital Jamaica Limited's board of directors.

A few weeks later on October 15, 2019, directors Gavin Valentine and Kadeen Mairs also resigned from SSLVC 's board of directors.

Amidst the comings and goings of the past two months, one of the first tasks of new CEO Harding was to report on an audit of the company for the period July 2018 to June 2019 which gave it a clean bill of health.

“Following concerns from our auditors, we commissioned a 12-month audit from July 2018 to June 2019”, Harding reported shortly after assuming the reins of the business. “Our auditors, Baker Tilly undertook a review for the period July 2018 to December 2018 so as to clear audit issues raised from the previous audit period, for which the company was qualified in relation to the audited financial statements as at December 2018. Following this review, we have resolved all outstanding audit issues and issues raised during the previous audit. Our auditors have now given us a clean bill of health for the audit period July 2018 to June 2019.”

Harding further stated that “most of our efforts were concentrated on structural and internal management as well as operational changes to improve efficiency and effective management for greater profitability in the near future” and that the cost of these changes were necessary so that these issues “would no longer consume most of our attention and focus.”

“We can now look forward to growing our businesses and providing the necessary fiduciary oversight and best in class management to ensure profitability and sustainability for our shareholders.” the CEO continued in his report.

He went on to reveal that the group made a significant improvement over the corresponding period with revenues of $322 million which are expected to keep growing and that losses of $76.9 million for the year ending June 2019 were due to “efficiency improvements made, the benefits of which we expect to realise going forward.”

Harding was positive about new appointments within the new team tasked with improving operations and driving growth.


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