3 Questions for the CEO: Frere Delmas

This week we hear from Frere Delmas, Executive Vice President, Integrated Retail Business Unit & Country Manager, Massy (Barbados) Ltd.

1. In your view, how has the rebranding of everything to Massy worked? What lessons have you learned?

In 2014 Neal & Massy transitioned our public image from approximately 60 operating companies to one image – Massy. The objective was to leverage the combined strength of these companies to create a powerful brand, helping fuel future growth.
Our vision is: “A Force for Good, Creating Value, Transforming Life” and our Core Values: Honesty & Integrity, Responsibility, Collaboration, Love & Care, Growth & Continuous Improvement.
Has everything worked? No. Consultants speak about culture eating strategy for breakfast, and we’ve seen that. We are on a journey, and our major area of focus is to continue to make change happen internally. We are in a world of Change.
The single biggest lesson learnt from the rebranding was the power of trust. We trusted, engaged & empowered 10 ,000 employees; we asked them not to reveal our plans and they honoured that request and gave us solutions. It was a remarkable experience. The key to change is trust. When people trust the future, they let go of the past.
Would I have changed anything? I don’t do regrets and so there is nothing that I would have changed. While others term many things that go wrong as mistakes, I declare them as happenings.

2. What keeps you awake at night – what do you worry about?

Barbados’ precarious economic situation . Austerity is going to be painful, especially for the poor and vulnerable, but I am heartened by the approach our new government is taking as it relates to communication and engagement. It is through this space of trust that we as a Nation will be able to operate at the speed of trust.
It is clear what fiscal actions need to be taken i.e. reduce debt, widen the tax base, grow productive sectors, reduce expenditure and improve overall productivity. Equally important is the transformational change that every one of us as Barbadians must make for us to prosper as a Nation.
The Social Partnership has served us well in the past and will be required even more than ever in the future.

3. In terms of economic pressures and opportunities, which sectors do you envisage to be the ones to invest in for the future? And which to get out of?

From a personal perspective, as a Barbadian, there are three areas that I believe we should invest in – not in the future – but now.
Firstly, Renewable Energy. Currently, approximately 12 per cent of our energy comes from Renewable Energy. For several years now, we have utilized the sun through our solar water heaters and within recent times we have introduced solar photovoltaic systems, but we need to do more.
Secondly , Digital Innovations. These are disruptors to several traditional businesses and overall sectors and they open the world to our human capital. They are not confined by physical scope boundaries, nor are they inhibited by capital, brick and mortar or geography. Graphic artists, musicians, dancers, singers, tailors, teachers – you name it – can make a living from the comfort of their own homes with a computer, the internet and the tools required for their areas of expertise. One only has to look at YouTube to get an idea of the endless opportunities that exist.
Thirdly, Food Security. This should be a priority of every Sovereign Nation. In addition to traditional agriculture, there are great opportunities with hydroponics – gardening that allows plants to grow using no soil and very little nutrient-rich water solutions.

Extra time: What’s next for you personally?
“Staying in purpose”. I am now at the back end of my corporate life and at this stage, I want to be part of a Barbados where people are healthy, happy and in harmony with the environment.

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