Businessman Franklyn Wilson has been elected chairman of FOCOL Holdings Limited (FOCOL) and reappointed director – a post he has held for 31 years.
Wilson succeeds Sir Albert Miller, who has served as chairman since 1988.
During FOCOL’s annual general meeting, which was held in Grand Bahama on Wednesday, March 26, Wilson thanked his predecessor for his vision and friendship.
He said whether as president or as chairman, Sir Albert’s tenure as the most senior officer of FOCOL from 1988 to 2014 was “impactful by any reasonable measure.”
He noted that it was under Albert’s leadership that the company was prepared and subsequently publicly listed on BISX.
FOCOL acquired most of Shell’s assets in The Bahamas and the Turks & Caicos and acquired Shell’s aviation business in The Bahamas.
Today, the company maintains a strong balance sheet and according to Wilson, can “buttress unforeseen challenges and facilitate the exploitation of new opportunities.”
“So, I say to my friend, Sir Albert, well done. Thank you especially for a partnership of over 30 years, for the friendship which has flowed therefrom; for the absence of arguments and yes, for the increasing profits you helped to engineer,” Wilson said.
“Sir Albert’s tenure as chairman and our vision for the future would each be better understood when placed in a proper historical context. Thus, on this august occasion, it would be appropriate to do a little looking back, before we look forward. We are better when we recognise that greatness often has roots which extend beyond ourselves.”
Sir Albert, who said he was one of the “midwives” at FOCOL’S birth, noted that the time has come for him to pass the baton.
He said it was also a privilege to be in a place to assist a group of visionary young Bahamians achieve a great dream.
“No one likes closing books, especially when the story has been a thrilling one. However, I leave with the knowledge that I stayed a course that was sometimes very rough, but I completed the journey with honor and I have had the good fortune of seeing the ship reach favorable waters to speed its progress,” he said.
“An examination of my life history will show that I have never believed in standing in the same spot forever, just because I believed it to be safe. For me, the emphasis has always been on moving forward, getting the job done and getting it done well. That is the signal for moving on again.”
The outgoing chairman applauded Wilson – who is also the chairman of Sunshine Holdings and Arawak Homes Ltd. – for transforming a Bahamian startup that was “ridiculed by pundits of the day” into a blue chip company that has more capitalization than some local banks.
He said he is leaving the chairmanship of FOCOL in “the best hands.”
“Frankie Wilson is something of a phenomenon. I believe him to be one of the most brilliant men to be born in our Bahamas. He has polished this great divine gift with a high-quality education and an ongoing commitment to learning. His work ethic is like few I have ever met before. He counts not the time but the importance of the task in the seemingly endless number of hours he is willing to commit. Better still, he knows the value of a dollar and what it takes to possess it and keep it.
“Still better, he knows the value of good partners and good employees and has the skill and personality to show deep appreciation for their contributions. Yes, I’m leaving the chairmanship of FOCOL in the best of hands. I trust him to hold the crew together and steer the FOCOL ship to ever brighter horizons for the good of the company, its staff and shareholders and for the good of all the Bahamian people and our country. I ask you all to give him the support and encouragement you have given me.”
Sir Albert noted that buying Shell Bahamas took FOCOL into “the big leagues” of international business, dealing in direct partnership with the likes of Chevron Texaco and Esso Standard Oil.
He also congratulated Sun Oil President and CEO Anthony Robinson whom he says put in place the organization of FOCOL as it is known today.
“I say without fear of contradiction that Mr. Robinson has caused us to be tremendously successful. Not only is he a hard worker, but he brought us valuable knowledge of a business of which few Bahamians had little knowledge at the managerial level,” he said.
“Mr. Robinson and team, you set a high mark for other Bahamians to reach. You make yourselves and all of FOCOL look good in a field where only the brightest and best fly high. Thank you for your splendid services.”
Sir Albert also gave some parting words for young Bahamians hoping to emulate FOCOL’s achievements.
“I must point out that success does not come with wishing for it. Success is a factor of foresight, joining hands with people who are like-minded and willing to work as hard as you do to make good. Success requires building and sustaining credibility. Success is a factor of picking the right team,” he said.
Published Tuesday, April 1, 2014