The board of national health insurance company CINICO held a series of seven extraordinary meetings in September and October before firing CEO Lonny Tibbetts.
Documents provided to the Cayman Compass under the Freedom of Information Law reveal a fraught series of meetings within the space of two weeks after unspecified allegations emerged against Mr. Tibbetts. At one of those meetings, Mr. Tibbetts’s cellphone and laptops were confiscated. He was dismissed three days later.
The minutes are brief and reveal little about the nature of the allegations against the CEO, who was fired on Oct. 8 last year. The board has refused to give any information about the reasons for the decision.
The Compass requested minutes from all board meetings from 2018. While some offer detailed accounts of the board’s monthly discussions, details of the board’s handling of Mr. Tibbetts’s firing are truncated into a two-page document.
The first meeting was held Sept. 24 in the Baraud boardroom “to discuss the allegations against the CEO,” the documents indicate. A second meeting was held the next day at HSM, followed by a series of meetings on consecutive days the following week at the Credit Union and HSM boardrooms, culminating in a meeting at CINICO on Oct. 5.
The notation for that meeting indicates that Patricia Estwick, the board chair, accompanied by two other board members, the attorneys and two security guards met with Mr. Tibbetts to inform him of an investigation against him. No details were given of to what the investigation entails and who was carrying it out.
The notation indicates, “The CEO’s company cellphone and three laptops were confiscated …. The day ended with a meeting with the staff to inform them about the investigation.”
The documents indicate that a further meeting was held the following Monday morning – three days after Mr. Tibbetts’s computers and phone were confiscated. Finance Minister Roy McTaggart and Financial Secretary Ken Jefferson were present at this meeting. A seventh and final emergency gathering was called Monday afternoon during which, the documents indicate, Ms. Estwick led a delegation of board members and attorneys to speak with Mr. Tibbetts.
The notes to this meeting indicate, “Met with the CEO to pose questions, then informed him of the board’s decision. The CEO was then escorted into his office by two security guards to pack up his personal belongings. The CFO and general manager were asked to jointly act as interim CEO.”
A meeting was held with staff the same day to inform them of the decision.
The board put out a brief press release later that week through Government Information Services, stating, “Unfortunately, as a result of information which recently came to the attention of the Board of Directors and which has been investigated, a decision was taken to terminate the employment of the CEO of CINICO with immediate effect. The Board of Directors does not propose to make any further comments at this time.”
The board has not added any further comment since then and Mr. Tibbetts has so far declined to comment. At the time, Ms. Estwick refused to answer questions as to the nature of the allegations, the scope of the investigation, who carried out the investigation or whether Mr. Tibbetts was accused of criminal wrongdoing. A police spokesperson confirmed he had not been arrested. The Anti-Corruption Commission said in a statement that it was not its policy to confirm or deny details of any complaints or reports it received.
The minutes for the rest of 2018 offer little indication of antipathy between the board and the CEO. They include regular updates from the CEO on a range of issues, including the strategic plan for the company, new human resources policies and negotiations for a contract over a new claims system. The board appears to have had some concerns in the early part of the year about the implementation of recommendations stemming from a Cayman Islands Monetary Authority inspection report.
A series of extraordinary meetings were held in June in an effort to meet deadlines set by CIMA to address its concerns, which appear to include concern over a lack of up-to-date manuals for risk management, claims processing and anti-money laundering.