The Board of CIBC FirstCaribbean has announced that Executive Chairman Michael Mansoor will retire at the end of the financial year, on October 31, 2013.
The announcement came as the bank paid tribute to Mansoor on September 5 at a ceremony to name its head office building in his honour.
Chief Executive Officer of CIBC FirstCaribbean, Rik Parkhill, paid tribute to Mansoor during the ceremony: “From my own perspective, I am very grateful for the time Mike has spent with me and his assistance. He has generously shared his knowledge of the region – its complexities and nuances. He has tirelessly introduced me to business and union leaders, and government officials … and in the process demonstrated the energy and stamina of a very young man. With Mike, the evenings are late – there is always one more customer to see, or one more issue to resolve, or a group of employees to visit that have requested a meeting. If it is possible to give your heart and soul to a financial institution, Mike has given his to CIBC FirstCaribbean.”
President and Chief Executive Officer of CIBC, Gerald McCaughey, also attended and spoke of Mansoor’s pivotal role during the integration of Barclays and CIBC in the West Indies that led to the forming of FirstCaribbean International Bank Limited (now CIBC FirstCaribbean).
He noted: “Mike has been instrumental in charting the course for CIBC FirstCaribbean. Of particular note, is the role he played in bringing CIBC and Barclays together more than a decade ago to combine our operations in the region and become FirstCaribbean International Bank. His leadership was clearly evident as he guided the bank through this momentous step in its history – as was the strength of his relationships both inside and outside the organization. He led the internal team through a period of great change, all while maintaining the confidence of key external stakeholders.
“I would be pleased just to recognize Mike’s accomplishments as a business leader. But that is not the full story. I have known Mike for many years, and he is a man of tremendous character. He is a role model, a leader and a gentleman. It is for these reasons that I am not only pleased to be here, but proud to be part these celebrations.”
Prime Minister of Barbados Freundel Stuart delivered the keynote address. The prime minister spoke of Mansoor’s concerns that the region’s recovery from the current economic downturn may not bring about the level of employment needed to foster a full recovery, and praised the bank for its contribution to educating the Caribbean young people on the possibilities of creating their own employment and wealth through entrepreneurship.
Referring to the bank’s involvement in programmes such as Caribbean Association of Youth Business Programmes, Junior Achievement, and the University of the West Indies Student Entrepreneurship Empowerment Development programme, he said: “The asperities of recessions have often been ameliorated by the multiplicity of innovations that spring from the creativity of ordinary people. And indeed, CIBC FirstCaribbean International bank has been preparing the children and young people for this important role.”
In his response, Mansoor said he was humbled by the gesture and thanked the staff of CIBC FirstCaribbean around the region for their support over the years.
“And I therefore accept this honour in the name of the hundreds, indeed the thousands of very special people who have walked into our offices over these last 15 years, and each day, bountifully gave of their time and talent to create and sustain one of the pre-eminent financial institutions in the Caribbean.
“I cannot say it has been easy, I cannot say there were not bumps along the road, but the benefits of the merger were real in that we were able to offer our customers a better and more relevant level of service, and as a bank, were able to participate in the financing of major transformational projects, such as green energy projects, hospitals, infrastructural projects in the electrical utilities industry and private and public sector investments. Our relationship people have made a difference in the 17 territories that make up our footprint, serving our customers, meeting with our shareholders and other stakeholders; supporting commerce; building capacity, and standing firmly behind the strengthening of Caribbean brands.
“The creation of FirstCaribbean was a decade ago. Today we have an integrated bank that is well positioned to be inherently successful and serve as an agent of transformation in each of the countries in which we operate.”
More than 100 customers, government officials, regulators, staff and friends of the Mansoor family, were also in attendance.
During the event, a choir comprising employees and specially gathered for the evening thanked the chairman in song, to thunderous applause.