Business

Wehby for Order of Distinction

BY BALFORD HENRY
Senior staff reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, August 13, 2017

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Senator Don Wehby is not only acknowledged by some as one of the brightest minds among post-independence CEOs in Jamaica, but is highly regarded in political circles as he serves his second term as a government member of the Jamaican Senate.

Wehby, who celebrated his 54th birthday on July 14, is among 15 business executives who have been honoured with the Order of Distinction (Commander) in the 2017 National Honours and Awards list released last Sunday.

A Fellow Chartered Accountant, Wehby holds both a Bachelor of Science (Hons) and a Master of Science degree in Accounting from The University of the West Indies (UWI), and has completed an Advanced Management College certificate course at Stanford University.

He is currently group chief executive officer (CEO) of GraceKennedy Limited, chairman of Jamaica Promotions (Jampro) and New Zealand's honorary consul to Jamaica.

Wehby is currently in his second stint as a Government senator in Parliament. He was minister without portfolio in the Bruce Golding administration, which lasted 2007/2011, and was reappointed senator under the Andrew Holness administration in 2016.

Wehby joined GraceKennedy Ltd in 1995 as group finance manager. He was appointed deputy finance director in 1997 and in that same year was appointed to the board. The following year he was appointed group chief financial officer and in 1999 he undertook the additional role of chief operating officer for the Financial Services Division.

Wehby was charged with the responsibility for leading the group's local and international expansion, especially in relation to banking, investments and insurance services.

He directed the listing of the company in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange sited in St Kitts, and under his leadership, GraceKennedy acquired 100 per cent ownership of First Global Bank, now a wholly owned subsidiary of the company.

In December 2005, Wehby relinquished his role as chief operating officer of the Financial Services Division to take on expanded responsibilities as group chief financial officer, which included heading a new Strategic Planning Unit.

In 2006, following the reorganisation of GraceKennedy, he was named deputy chief executive officer, GraceKennedy Ltd and chief executive officer, GK Investments.

In September 2007, he resigned from his positions at GraceKennedy and its board to serve for two years as Government senator and minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.

Following his two-year stint in the public service, he was reappointed to the Board of GraceKennedy on his return to the company in October 5, 2009.

He is also a director of several of GraceKennedy's boards, including chairman of First Global Holdings GK Foods & Services Limited and GraceKennedy Money Services SRL.

Senator Wehby's prior professional affiliations include being vice-chairman of the Diaspora Conference Implementation Council and chairman of the Jamaica Cricket Franchise Development Company.

In December 2014, he retired from the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), where he held the post of vice-president of the PSOJ and chairman of its Economic Policy Committee. His prior association with the PSOJ was that of honorary treasurer.

He also served on the boards of Food for the Poor, Cable & Wireless Jamaica and his alma mater St George's College where he was director of its Endowment Fund Board up to March 2016.

He also served as a director of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), and chairman of its newly created Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee up to June 2017.

Senator Wehby was the first Jamaican to win the Young Caribbean Professional Network's (YCPN) Award, and was honoured as the International Entrepreneur of the Year in 2015 for his leadership in making GraceKennedy a major player in the global marketplace, his commitment to investing in downtown Kingston and to Sports.

In May 2015, he received the Key to the city of Miramar, Florida, from its mayor, Wayne Messam, for his work in the private sector, his two-year stint in government, and his overall contribution to Jamaica.

He was the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica (ICAJ) Distinguished Member Awardee for 2015. The award recognises a member who, through service and achievements, has contributed to the prestige and status of the Institute and the Accountancy profession.

Wehby is the youngest recipient of the ICAJ award. Additionally, on Saturday, September 24, 2016, he was inducted into the St George's College Hall of Fame for Excellence and Achievement in Business, Community Spirit and Service to the College.

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