Published: Friday April 25, 2008
Craig Reynald, who has been at the forefront of efforts of One Caribbean Media to transform itself into a genuinely pan-Caribean media company, steps down as CEO at month end and will be succeeded by Terrence Farrell, a former governor of the Trinidad and Tobago central bank.
Reynald, who is retiring early, was celebrated by directors and staff at a function in Port-of-Spain this week, and in the group's just-released report to shareholders, chairman Fred Gallop hailed Reynald's performance in the decade as the group's boss, having taken over from Ken Gordon of what was thenthe Caribbean Communications Network (CCN).
"In his years of service, he was able to significantly improve the group's performance, not only financially, but among viewers, readers and advertisers," Gallop said.
"His contribution to the merger of CCN and the Nation Group deserves the highest commendation."
Cricket world cup loss
For the year to December 31, 2007, One Caribbean reported net profit of TT$88.57, a mere TT$1.71 million or two per cent higher than the previous year.
The profit was on the back of revenues of TT$482.26 million, up seven and a half per cent on the previous year.
Part of the reason for the anaemic profit growth, the company explained, was a loss of Cricket World Cup publications last year.
Rising newsprint prices
Projected advertising levels did not materialise because of the early elimination from the tournament of teams like Pakistan, England and India.
The company was also hit by rising newsprint prices and the cost of restructuring.
CCN, which started life as Trinidad's 40-year-old Express Newspaper, was listed on the Port-of-Spain exchange in the early 1990s, shortly after Reynald joined as finance director.
One Caribbean was created earlier this decade when CCN merged with the Nation Group of Barbados, which includes the Starcom radio network and the Nation newspaper, one of several that the Express helped to launch and nurture in the Caribbean.
In fact, One Caribbean officially holds 10 per cent of the Jamaica Observer, which it gained for technical help to the newspaper at the time of its launch in 1993.
Reynald and his former boss, Ken Gordon, still appear in the Observer's corporate box as directors.
Apart from the Express and Nation newspapers, One Caribbean, until recently, controlled six radio channels in Barbados, radio and television in Grenada and TV6 in Trinidad.
It recently acquired additional radio stations in Trinidad, St Lucia, Antigua, St Kitts and Montserrat, which Gallop said would lead to the "first truly pan-Caribbean media network".
The group also has commercial printing operations in Barbados and Trinidad.
Gordon had long articulated a vision of, and began the effort to forge, a regionwide media group through a series of mergers.
Reynald has been credited with substantially following through on and fulfilling the idea, although he remained unsuccessful at enticing Jamaican entities into One Caribbean.
While broadly satisfied in establishing itself as a Caribbean media conglomerate, Reynald has identified the failure so far to forge a regional television network as an outstanding mission.
"We originally conceptualised this could be best achieved through strategic relationships and/or acquisitions of television stations throughout the region and, therefore, began the process by acquiring majority shareholding in Grenada Broadcasting Network," Reynald explained.
"This, however, has proven long and tedious, since most of the television stations are government-owned and, therefore, private sector participation is not easily facilitated."
But, he added: "We remain determined, however, to bring this into reality and are currently pursuing other strategies."