In recent weeks, the Bank of The Bahamas appointed its first-ever female chair, with attonery Donna Harding-Lee taking over the post following the necessary Central Bank approval.
Mrs. Harding-Lee was called to The Bahamas Bar in 1982, and joined the firm of Cash Fountain & Company, where she remained for 14 years until founding her own law office, Harding-Lee & Company, in 1996. She has served as a director on several boards, including an insurance/financial institution, and Bank of The Bahamas.
“I am doubly honoured to be appointed as chairperson to the Board of Bank of The Bahamas and the first female to occupy that position. The bank has so much potential, and I look forward to it becoming the premier banking institution in The Bahamas,” Mrs Harding-Lee said.
She has also served as a member of the Industrial Relations Board of The Bahamas and the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, and has held various positions within the Bahamas Bar Association, including membership on the Disciplinary Tribunal.
While Pauline Allen-Dean and Renee Davis have previously served as Bank of The Bahamas’ managing director and acting managing director, respectively, this is the first time in the bank’s 34-year history that a woman has been appointed to lead its governing Board.
Kenrick Brathwaite, the BISX-listed institution’s managing director, added that three of the bank’s chief officers are also women and the bank’s staff is predominantly female.
“Women have always made significant contributions to the success of the bank. They have done so at the highest levels, and we welcome and congratulate Mrs Harding-Lee and look forward to benefiting from her experience and guidance as well as that of other members of our new Board,” he added.
Mr. Brathwaite told Bank of The Bahamas’ recent annual general meeting (AGM) that the institution has strengthened its foundation, and will have soon completed a full modernisation of its delivery channels that will enable it to eventually achieve market leadership as the best and most respected financial enterprise in The Bahamas.
Jihanne Hosmillo-Williams, its chief financial officer, said that despite the pandemic’s economic effects the bank generated net income of $3.73m for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021, and $0.5m for the first six months of the current fiscal year. She added that Bank of The Bahamas’ capital ratios remain strong and well above regulatory requirements. As at December 31, 2021, the bank’s total assets stood at $924,201m with total equity at $158.299m
The newly-elected Bank of The Bahamas board also includes its youngest director to-date, Taran Mackey, managing director and chief executive of IPG Family Office; as well as Howard Thompson Jr, attorney-at-law and entrepreneur; Errol McKinney, president and owner of EM and Associates, labour and human resources consultants; Dywan Rodgers, partner and attorney-at-law, Meridian Law Chambers; and Anastasia Ferguson-Pratt, vice-president of financial reporting and control at The Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC). Returning board members include Whitney Patton; minority shareholder representative Timothy Brown, president of Bahamian Sea Basket; and Mr Brathwaite who serves as managing director.