Abic AGM as Richard Winchell retires
The Association of Bermuda International Companies completed its 2022 Annual General Meeting at O’Hara House, with Wayne Smith taking over as the new executive director from the retiring Richard Winchell.
Mr Winchell, who occupied the seat for 16 years, finishes up as another stalwart, Abic administrator Greta Peters, also retires after eight years.
Mr Smith has more than 25 years of executive experience in both the private and public sectors and most recently led the government’s concierge and engagement services division.
Malinda Jennings will replace Ms Peters as administrator.
Patrick Tannock, chairman of Abic and CEO of AXA XL Insurance in Bermuda, laid out Abic plans for 2023, as it promotes a sound business environment for international business and raises awareness of IB’s value.
“We must build on and utilise our competitive advantage of speed to market to provide real-time solutions to the opportunities that come from change,” Mr Tannock said.
“Collectively, both industry and government must work together to ensure that we minimise any bureaucracy that could negatively impact this competitive advantage and identify any areas of friction to enhance our speed of execution.
“We’re also going to work to ensure that we can continue to attract fresh, high-quality intellectual capital, while continuing our commitment to retain and develop our current talent, both local and international, to ensure a win-win and to continue to drive innovation.
“To remain competitive, Bermuda must provide an environment in which international business gets what it needs to thrive.
“Likewise, we in international business must be respectful of Bermuda’s culture, as well as the aspirations and values of the Bermudian people. We are all in this together.
“We plan to continue to ramp up our work with member companies to accelerate the transition from simply awareness of why DEI matters to the development and execution of strategies to work to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in Bermuda’s international business workforce.
“We’re also going to continue to provide intellectual capital and input to support government's plan to produce economic recovery.
“We will do all that we can to raise awareness of Bermuda’s IB value proposition, both domestically and internationally.”
Mr Tannock also spoke about Abic’s evolution over its first 50 years, since it was founded as the International Companies Division of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce in 1971.
“Over the past 50 years, Abic has cemented its role as the definitive voice of Bermuda international companies. However, it has also evolved to become an organisation that listens, learns and engages with the broader community,” Mr Tannock said.
“Looking ahead to the next 50 years, Abic’s work in helping international companies and Bermuda adapt to the challenges of a fast-changing world has never been more relevant.”
During the AGM Mr Smith was one of a slate of three new directors appointed to the Abic board, along with LaMel Burch, CFO of Artex Capital Solutions and head of central services for Artex in Bermuda, and Michael Walsh, CFO of L&G Reinsurance.
Two directors, Frank “Chip” Gillis and Barclay Simmons, have retired from the board.
Directors unanimously voted for Mr Winchell to be retained as an honorary director after his retirement as executive director.
The AGM also featured “A Conversation with Christie Hunter Arscott”, an award-winning adviser, speaker and author, who spoke about DEI, a major focus of Abic, in a question-and-answer session.
Ms Hunter Arscott, a Rhodes scholar, has been named by Thinkers50 as “one of the 30 management thinkers most likely to shape the future of how organisations are managed and led”.
Ms Hunter Arscott answered questions about the challenges of implementing DEI strategies.
She also addressed the issue of racism in Bermuda.
“We skirt around it all the time,” she said. “We need to have honest discussions around the legacy that exists and that permeates our society, our school systems, families, social groups.
“Hard discussions, but we need to take those on.
“If we look at the representation of black Bermudians in the industry, we need to be doing better. We need honest discussions around race and how we, as an industry and as organisations, view historical legacies and current biases that permeate the system.
“And how do we address the past while also creating ways to interrupt that bias in our organisations, now?”
Answering a question from the audience, Ms Hunter Arscott advocated less talk about DEI and more action.