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Scotiabank’s outgoing MD reflects on career

Canadian bank's managing director in The Bahamas, Barry Malcolm, leaves his post today. In his last interview in office, the banker talks of his achievements at Scotia and his ventures for the future. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Tuesday, May 31, 2011

For the past three years Barry Malcolm has been responsible for the strategic direction of Scotiabank’s operation within The Bahamas, providing oversight to the financial institution’s 700-plus employees, 22 branches, 57 ATMs and a full-range of retail, corporate and commercial banking services.

Today, his last in office, the managing director leaves the institution backed by a solid team of professionals capable of competing locally and abroad.

“I came into the bank at a very crucial time in its development,” he recalls. “It had gone through several years of very rapid and explosive sales growth, which was followed by a major economic downturn.”

The bank also faced challenges with regard to its internal operations.

“We spent the last three years focusing on correcting the issues we had and restoring performance to international standards,” explains Malcolm–a former Senator and parliamentary secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister who spent nearly six years on the Board of Scotia Bahamas Ltd, prior to assuming the MD post.

The bank has spent a lot of man-hours on employee development, working on its sales disciplines and realigning the leadership of the organization.

“We really changed our management team substantially,” says Malcolm, a former business executive who spent 18 years with the Grand Bahama Port Authority. “We brought in a lot of new, Bahamian professionals all geared toward positioning the bank and the franchise to move forward strongly and competitively in the future.”

Since announcing his retirement a month ago, Malcolm has been busy and he admits leaving the bank has not been easy.

“The last few weeks in office have been very special to me. During the course of my time in the bank I forged some very good relationships, so I spent my time over the last four weeks visiting every branch and every unit in the country.”

In fact, he completed the last of his visits this week, returning from North Eleuthera Monday morning. It was important for the outgoing managing director to personally speak with employees at Scotia’s 22 branches in New Providence, Abaco, Andros, Eleuthera, Exuma, Grand Bahama and Long Island.

“This has been the longest goodbye,” he says. “I wanted to just share and reflect with them on what we were able to accomplish over the last three years, particularly our focus on their development and the crafting of their leadership skills within the organization.”

Having endured the economic challenges over the last three years, Malcolm is convinced the bank emerged stronger.

“We have very successfully and very effectively molded the organization to a position of strength,” he asserts. “My view is that we have a solid, able, focused, engaged group of young professionals who have the capacity and skills to run this bank in the future.”

Yet, he says, there is still work to do, such as lowering the amount of delinquent customer loans–something that’s been a challenge for the industry as a whole. There’s also the ongoing development of the bank’s Engaged Leadership Programme, which equips and fine tunes employees’ skills ensuring that they can lead the organization in their respective areas of responsibility.

“I see that as being a continued area of focus as we move forward,” says Malcolm. “The other area is our sales and development training and focus. As the economy turns, we want to position our bank to be able to go out there and offer to the marketplace the sales and services it needs.”

After spending most of the last 30 years working for large, multinational companies, Malcolm is now set to focus his time and talents on enterprises in which he has “a greater direct equity interest.” A large part of his efforts will be directed towards Global Fulfillment Services, a strategic business and economic development company that he launched in 2006.

The banker is also set to tackle a number of other business projects over the next several months. In comparison to Scotia, Malcolm says these enterprises are more “low key,” but of value in this economy.

“I’m quite excited about it,” he says. “These are private investment projects that involve financial services and other sectors. It’s definitely not retirement.”

Scotiabank Bahamas


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