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Directors meet to determine Petrotrin’s fate

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Petrotrin’s Board of Directors are to meet today to decide if to replace the company’s outgoing president Fitzroy Harewood or if to take the opportunity to split the company into two and hire separate presidents of the new enterprises.

Well placed sources tell the Guardian that it is likely that the board will decide on the new structure and that Petrotrin will no longer have a single president but rather at least two people will be hired to head an Exploration and Production Company and another to lead a Refining and Marketing Company.

Contacted yesterday Petrotrin’s Chairman Wilfred Espinet would only confirm that the board will meet today but said he would not want to pre-empt any decision that may be made.

“I cannot speak for the Board because I simply do not know what the Board will do and in that respect it would be presumptuous of me to assume what would come from the meeting. We are aware that a decision has to be made in short order and that we have to determine a course of action but there are many stakeholders and we have to treat all with respect and do what is best for Petrotrin and what can work in the environment in which we operate.” Espinet said.

On December 2, 2017 the Board of Directors announced that Harewood had resigned and that his resignation would take effect on February 28th.

A circular to employees from the company’s chairman read, “The Board of Directors has accepted the resignation of Petrotrin President, Mr Fitzroy Harewood. Mr Harewood submitted his resignation on November 30th and it will take effect on 2018, February 28th to allow for a smooth transition.”

Espinet later revealed that at no time did the Board of Directors ask Harewood to resign and in fact if the board has any problem with Harewod he would not have been allowed to stay on for three months in keeping with his contractual arrangements.

In December Petrotrin’s chairman also revealed that the timing and the hiring of replacement will be determined by the restructuring efforts of the company.

He noted that the recommendations of the Selwyn Lashley report that the company be broken up into two or three companies was not set in stone and that it was done without the benefit of all the various studies done over the years on Petrotrin.

He told the Guardian that the Board was looking at all the studies including the strategic plan of the management and trying to come up with the best way forward.

Espinet admitted that the challenge was daunting but assured that the company wouldl get it right.

Harewood was appointed President of Petrotrin in November 2015 by the then Board led by Andrew Jupiter.

At time of his appointment the opposition had raised concerns about whether he was the best man for the job.

In addition, the OWTU was also been calling for his removal.

Harewood’s tenure as Petrotrin president was not without its fair share of challenges as he had to deal with a collapse in oil prices, protest by the OWTU and a heavily leveraged company with debt payment due in 2019 and 2022.


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