The board of directors of the Nation Publishing Company Limited, including founder and board Chairman Harold Hoyte, has been sacked, as the Trinidad-based parent company continues structural changes, official sources have revealed.
According to the sources familiar with the decision taken by the parent company One Caribbean Media (OCM), the Starcom Network board is also being dismissed to make way for a single board of directors to oversee the entire Caribbean operation.
The termination took effect on March 1, according to the sources, but was only revealed Thursday.
Hoyte’s dismissal was later found to have been an error on the part of the group’s hierarchy, and he was reportedly asked to return, the sources said.
However, the Nation founder told Barbados TODAY he was unaware of any such action, although he admitted that OCM had indeed planned to restructure all of the domestic boards across the region.
In addition to the Nation and Starcom Network, OCM owns the Express newspaper, CCN TV6 and five radio stations in Trinidad & Tobago, the Grenada Broadcasting Network in Grenada and radio services in five Eastern Caribbean countries.
“I’m not aware the Nation board has been dismissed. I think you have to speak to somebody who could make that decision. I haven’t made any decision. I am chairman of the board . . . . I know that the OCM is looking at restructuring the boards, but I don’t know of any new board,” Hoyte said.
Asked to clarify whether he was unaware that the board had been fired, or if there were no truth to the report, Hoyte replied: “I can’t say it is not so because I don’t appoint the board. I have not received any correspondence, I have not received any telephone calls, I have had no instructions. I am not aware that the board has been dissolved. I can tell you what I am aware of is that there is going to be a restructuring of the boards . . . not of the Nation board or the Starcom board, but all of the boards of OCM. I believe that is being discussed. To make that statement [of a dismissal] I would be presumptuous.”
Meanwhile, Nation Group Chief Executive Officer Anthony Shaw told Barbados TODAY that “boards do routinely change from time to time and there will be changes made on boards.
“All organizations do change boards routinely,” Shaw said.
Asked if the Nation board had been changed on this occasion, he said: “When the board is changed an announcement will be made as to who the directors are, if that occurs and when that happens.”
Thursday, at least one board member confirmed to Barbados TODAY that he had indeed received his walking papers, while admitting that the action had come somewhat as a surprise. He also expressed concern that all future decision making in relation to the Barbados-based publication house will be made out of Port of Spain.
Barbados TODAY also contacted Group Chief Executive Officer of One Caribbean Media Ltd Dawn Thomas, who promised to ring back, but had not done so up to the time of publication. Several follow calls went unanswered.
The development comes on the heels of last January’s firing of the Nation’s Editor-In-Chief Roy Morris.