Media tide on the turn for Digicel?
IS THE largely positive media coverage of Denis O’Brien and his Digicel mobile phone group beginning to turn in the Caribbean?
O’Brien and Digicel have enjoyed a lot of good press in the region since the mobile phone group was set up more than a decade ago and helped to liberalise telecommunications in the Caribbean, spending millions on various sponsorships and community projects along the way.
But Digicel’s recent management shake-up in Jamaica hasn’t gone down well with the Jamaica Observer, one of the island’s biggest newspapers.
As reported in this newspaper earlier this week, Irishman Mark Linehan has been promoted from heading up Digicel’s Jamaica operation to become regional chief executive for the islands of Grenada, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Experienced British executive Andy Thorburn has taken over the top job from Linehan in Jamaica.
In a hard-hitting column this week, the Observer questioned why a local wasn’t chosen to fill the role.
“Digicel is at the heart of almost every Jamaican, and although it calls itself a Jamaican company, I have yet to see a Jamaican CEO in the forefront of things. Why is this so?” columnist Mark Wignall asked.
“Surely, it cannot be that there is a shortage of highly qualified Jamaicans. Let us get cocky here. This is our 50th year of political independence and we have just creamed off at the Olympics!
“Is Digicel saying to us that, since 2001, not one single Jamaican has been found fit enough to be considered CEO? That, I do not believe. Not in year 50 of Jamaica.”
It will be interesting to see if O’Brien and his slick PR machine in the region respond to this outburst of nationalistic fervour.