MERVYN EYRE, TECHNOLOGY PIONEERWednesday, May 05, 2021
Mervyn Eyre has had a pioneering role in technology development in Jamaica. He encouraged greater use of transactional and Internet technology, platforms very valuable to this country's development, and continues to push regional growth.
Today he is president and chief executive officer of the Fujitsu Caribbean and Central American regions. The astute leader who is passionate about problem-solving and “fulfilling dreams for people” fell into technology by divine accident, literally. Fiddling with wires from a plane motor that almost short-circuited the family home would lead to extra classes in technology at the College of Arts, Science and Technology (CAST), now University of Technology, Jamaica.
After studying computer science in the UK, he worked as a field engineer, which would open his eyes to the possibilities of computers changing the world. Returning home, he worked as the sales manager at ICL, an opportunity to learn how to run a business and integrate solutions. He grew the company significantly, it quickly outpaced itself and was acquired by Fujitsu. He eventually became Fujitsu's CEO for the region where he would increase the company's profitability quarter-on-quarter. It has doubled in size since then.
In the early days of the Internet, Eyre encouraged early adoption and ultimately creating of the platform for expanding services by the telecommunications sector in Jamaica. To contribute to the Jamaica technology industry, Eyre served as president of Jamaica Information Technology and Services Alliance (JITSA). One of the most significant contributions he made in this capacity was forging the path for true technology leadership.
“As the world has become more digital, we've had to introduce this whole fabric of a new level of governance that we've been slow to adopt generally as a region. It became clear that we need to tackle that and if Jamaica and the region wanted to improve its readiness indexes, we must start with leadership. The future of our industry depended on people like me and others [willing] to invest in [it] and become socially responsible and play a greater role,” he said.
Eyre spearheaded multiple projects, including introducing electronic banking transactions with the National Commercial Bank (NCB) and the first automated teller machines (ATMs). Under his direction, Hi-LO Supermarkets set up barcode systems which became the default systems used for retail transactions. He also pioneered electronic fingerprinting in the region and putting computer labs in schools across the Caribbean. “I'm passionate about solving problems and I see my life's purpose as helping people and, with technology, there is so much potential to improve the lives of people. Technology is more about how you combine ideas and skills with people,” added Eyre.
He has had a seat on numerous boards, including Central Information Technology Office (CITO) and the e-Commerce Committee established by the Government, responding to calls from industry leaders wanting to create more structure in the technology industry.
Eyre firmly believes that his natural curiosity to discover people's motivation to use technology to enhance their lives is a driving factor behind his purpose.
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