CIMA defends Rowell hiring

The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority defended its controversial decision to hire Gordon Rowell to head up its insurance division.

As the insurance director, Mr. Rowell will be responsible for regulating the Cayman Islands National Insurance Organisation, the company that he resigned from under a cloud of controversy last summer.

However, Mr. Rowell stated that he will be excusing himself from regulating CINICO, as it was a previous employer.

‘I don’t think I did anything wrong [at CINICO],’ said Mr. Rowell. ‘I have nothing to be ashamed of.’

Ten months after Mr. Rowell’s resignation, the CEO position at CINICO remains vacant. CINICO Chairwoman Sheridan Brooks-Hurst stated the insurer would not consider re-hiring Mr. Rowell as CINICO’s CEO, given the opportunity.

‘Bearing in mind Mr. Rowell’s public admission in the Finance Committee of the Legislative Assembly, subsequently reported in the local press, inter alia that he ‘could have done much better with the finances of CINICO’, I do not believe that the board of that same company, that is CINICO, would have sufficient confidence in him to re-employ him in that position,’ Ms. Brooks-Hurst said

‘The members of CINICO’s board of directors regard themselves as custodians of public funds and as such we have been tasked to carry out our functions at CINICO to ensure that the company is operated as professionally, effectively and efficiently as possible.’

Mr. Rowell’s resignation as CEO of CINICO last year, followed the release of an auditor general’s report on an overseas contract he awarded to the financially unstable US company, CareGuide.

While Mr. Rowell said CareGuide was a publicly traded company, he allegedly failed to report to the CINICO board that the company was trading on the Penny Stock Exchange at US 8 cents a share.

He also allegedly failed to provide information that it had lost US$7 million and had significant cash flow issues.

After the auditor general report was released, the CINICO board overturned Mr. Rowell’s decision to issue the overseas management contract to CareGuide. Subsequently, CareGuide took itself off the Penny Stock Exchange.

The Monetary Authority issued a press statement last week supporting Mr. Rowell.

‘In response to certain criticisms regarding the appointment of Gordon Rowell as its new Head of Insurance, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority wishes to point out that the recruitment process was carried out in accordance with CIMA’s established procedure.’

The Monetary Authority’s statement added that Mr. Rowell was the only Caymanian from a pool of 19 applicants. It also noted his experience includes six years with CIMA.

‘We have firsthand knowledge of his capabilities and are confident he will provide the same high level of leadership in his capacity of head of insurance as he did when he previously held the position,’ the Monetary Authority statement added.

In two years, there have been at least three people in the position of insurance head according to the Monetary Authority Chair Carlyle McLaughlin.

Mr. McLaughlin acknowledged that he was not part of the interview panel, but he was still confident Mr. Rowell had been thoroughly vetted.

Before taking up the post, Mr. Rowell stated that he had also resigned from directorships of four captive insurance companies and six other unlicensed holding companies.