RAB chief Watson leaves at pivotal time
The sudden resignation of Robert Watson, the chief executive of the Regulatory Authority of Bermuda (RAB), comes at a less than opportune time for the watchdog organisation.
Mr Watson had been in the role for only nine months when his resignation was announced yesterday. He has left the organisation for personal reasons.
The timing of the departure was referred to as “regrettable” by Carl Musson, RAB chairman, and it is clear to see why.
In the telecoms sector the dust is still settling after a round of consolidations involving four key players in the industry.
Meanwhile, a new Electricity Act is on the way, which will see regulatory responsibility for the electricity sector transferred from the Bermuda Government and the Energy Commission to the RAB.
A reshaping of the Island's telecoms and energy sector landscapes is under way, with the RAB tasked to act as an independent, multi-sector regulator.
In a statement announcing Mr Watson's resignation, Mr Musson said: “Whilst the timing is regrettable, I have every confidence that our capable staff will be able to run the Authority until a new chief executive is on board.
“We have a number of irons in the fire, and will update the public as quickly as we can as to our progress. In the meantime we will also use the opportunity to retool resources as we prepare to take over regulation of the electricity sector in Bermuda.”
It has been a busy summer in the telecoms sector. In June, after receiving approval from the RAB, Digicel Bermuda completed a takeover of the Bermuda Telephone Company to create a telecommunications heavyweight to match KeyTech, which has CableVision Bermuda and Logic as subsidiaries and CellOne as an affiliate.
The following month KeyTech strengthened its position when it gained 100 per cent ownership of CableVision Bermuda with the intention of merging CableVision and Logic under the Logic brand.
Meanwhile, Grant Gibbons, Minister of Economic Development, has tabled a draft Electricity Act that will transfer regulatory responsibility and oversight of the electricity sector to the RAB. Previously that responsibility was handled by the Ministry and the Energy Commission.
When asked by The Royal Gazette what impact Mr Watson's departure would have on the work of the RAB, Mr Musson said: “It's obviously going to have some impact. We hope the effect will be minimal, but we can't say for sure because we can't see into the future.
“However, we do have a skilled staff who can quite ably carry on the critical functions of the Authority pending the appointment of a replacement chief executive.”
Mr Musson said the RAB has not requested a stalling of either the Electricity Act or the transfer of regulatory responsibility from the Energy Commission to the Authority.
Back in January, when Mr Watson's appointment was announced, Mr Musson said: “I think we found the right man for the job.” He noted Mr Watson's background as a former president of Canadian power firm SaskPower and telecoms company SaskTel, both based in the province of Saskatchewan.
Mr Watson replaced the RAB's first chief executive, Philip Micallef, who held the position between January 2013 and September 2014, before leaving for personal reasons to return to his native Malta.
Following Mr Watson's resignation, the RAB's legal adviser Kyle Masters has been appointed interim chief executive.