MSBM Alumnus Jacqueline Sharp has crowned a 16-year career at the bank with her latest appointment as president and CEO of Scotia Group Jamaica, which will put her in charge of Jamaica's second-largest commercial banking group.
The market had expected a woman to take up the top job, but few had Sharp in mind. The bets up to Wednesday had been on Anya Schnoor.
Sharp will transition from chief financial officer/chief administrative officer and executive vice-president to the corner office at Scotiabank Centre in downtown Kingston in three weeks.
The man she replaces, Bruce Bowen, will return to Canada and take up a new appointment as senior vice-president, Caribbean, International Banking on September 1, the same day that Sharp takes charge of the Jamaican operations.
"It is with very mixed emotions that I will be leaving Jamaica," Bowen told the Financial Gleaner. "The opportunity to lead such a strong and successful organisation in Jamaica has been a privilege, and the quality of our executive team is extraordinary," he said.
Bowen's departure is not unexpected. It was long said in market circles that his replacement of forner CEO Bill Clarke would have been transitory, lasting as long as it took to groom a successor.
Schnoor was the expected heir apparent. And the market was even more sure of it when she was seconded to Toronto for a stint with the parent operation. But that certainty began to wobble when she was subsequently placed in Trinidad to run the country operations there about 10 months ago.
Scotiabank has operated in Jamaica since 1889 - a total of 124 years. Sharp's appointment makes history as the bank's first female boss. It also makes Scotia Group the only stock market company with both a female chairman and CEO.
Sylvia Chrominska, who announced the new appointment on Wednesday, was herself selected the banking group's first woman chair earlier this year.
Sharp will sit on the boards of both Scotia Group and Bank of Nova Scotia Jamaica Limited.
She told the Financial Gleaner that her focus will be on leadership throughout the group.
"I am very pleased and honoured to be entrusted with this immense responsibility. Having been at Scotiabank for more than 15 years, I am very aware and appreciative of the strength of our organisation and our team who represent this great company each day," she said Wednesday night, shortly after the news of her appointment broke.
"Over the longer term, our success as an institution will be based on focused attention to our strategic pillars: heightened customer experience, driving operational efficiencies and further developing our leadership capabilities, and that will be my driving force."
Sharp said she would work closely with Bowen and the management team over the next month "to ensure a seamless transition for all our shareholders".
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