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Colina Showdown - 5-, 2005 – 20: 1
Three greedy stooges battle over control of insurance company.

There could be a new culture at the Colina Group of Companies following a crucial extraordinary meeting of shareholders scheduled for this morning to remove James Campbell as the president of Colina Insurance Company and appoint new directors.

The meeting is set to happen unhindered by an injunction that Mr. Campbell had been seeking to block it. A Supreme Court judge ruled against his request earlier this month.

Meantime, Ravi Jesubatham, who had held the position of Chief Financial Officer resigned effective April 11, the Bahama Journal has learnt.

Principals Emanuel Alexiou, chairman of Colina Holdings Bahamas Limited and Anthony Ferguson, another company director are expected to move for Messrs Campbell and Jesubatham to be removed from the board at this mornings shareholders meeting.

The pair is expected to use their combined majority shareholding to oust them from the company.

According to correspondence obtained by the Bahama Journal, Mr. Jesubatham submitted his resignation letter on April 11, the same day that Mr. Alexiou had sent him a letter advising him that he served as a director at the "pleasure and at the request of Colina Financial Group," which "no longer wished that you serve in such capacity."

In a letter dated March 30, 2005 - a copy of which has been obtained by the Journal - Mr. Jesubatham classified the removal of the President and Chief Executive Officer as drastic action which would be appropriate in situations of gross misconduct or failure to deliver the results mandated by the board.

"I am unable to see either of these situations present. Recent Board minutes reflect that the directors have been pleased with Mr. Campbell's performance. I recall a number of discussions in which it was acknowledged that Mr. Campbell would at some stage remove himself from the management of Colina Insurance Company.

"If the board sees fit to accelerate this process, I recommend that a target date be set with appropriate rules to be followed in the interim," the letter noted.

In the letter, he also indicated that the board meeting to summarily terminate Mr. Campbell's services was "inappropriate," reasoning that the proposed action would send conflicting signals to the staff and is "extremely humiliating."

A well-placed source at the company branded the conflict as a matter of corporate governance and ultimately control.

That source also reported that staff morale is at an all time low as the feud - which has even reportedly affected the company's bottom line - continues.

"The strength of the company will always be with its policy holders and we have had $760,000 worth of cash surrenders [clients cashing in their policies]," the source said. "The month to month policy payments is what keeps the company going and agents haven't been focused enough on collecting the money in March and April because of what is going on. Those were the worst months."

Colina has about 75,000 policyholders.

All of the principals in the feud who have been contacted have either failed to return press calls or declined press requests for an interview.

Just recently, Colina Holdings Bahamas moved to assure its shareholders and the public that there has been no change in the managerial hierarchy of the company, conveying the message in a public notice in accordance with section 7 of the Bahamas International Securities Exchange rules.

Mr. Campbell technically manages Colina along with others but he hadn't enjoyed the full confidence and support of certain directors because of the internal fallout.

The Journal has previously reported that conflict-involving principals Messrs Alexiou, Campbell and Ferguson occurred due to the convergence of ideas over the style and approaches to the management of the company.

Mr. Campbell owns 30 percent of the shares of the holding company, which owns 67 percent of the shares in Colina.

Messrs Alexiou and Ferguson own the balance of shares. In effect, the former controls 67 percent of the shares in the company, which wishes to dismiss Mr. Campbell as president and director.

Article content from the Bahama Journal