Heritage chairman dismissed; CEO to go

Espinet is out, Quamina is in.

Wilfred Espinet, the man who led the closure of the Point a Pierre Refinery and the rebranding of Petrotrin, has now been replaced by Michael Quamina as the Chairman of the Trinidad Petroleum Holdings Limited.

Energy Minister Franklin Khan made the announcement this afternoon at the Post Cabinet News Briefing. 

Minister Khan and Finance Minister Colm Imbert insist Cabinet’s decision to remove Espinet from the company was not prompted by any controversy.

Almost one year ago, Espinet came in for heavy criticisms when the decision was announced to send home close to 5,000 Petrotrin workers as part of the company’s restructuring exercise.

Quamina, an attorney who has represented Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley in legal matters, will also chair Heritage Petroleum and Petrotrin Legacy Company.

The new board has been mandated to find a replacement for Chief Executive Officer Mike Wiley, who is sick and is unable to travel to this country to fulfill his duties at the company.

The Office of the Prime Minister said in a statement on Thursday that Government had instructed the newly-announced board of Heritage to replace its current CEO Mike Wylie who is currently on medical leave in the United States.

Minister Imbert said, "We have instructed the company that they have to fill that position immediately with a suitable permanent replacement."

"We think the company is too important to the economy and country’s sovereign credit rating to allow a situation to continue where this gentleman who was brought in at great expense, with high hopes who is now unfortunately through no fault of his own is ill - for this situation to remain in limbo."

The company sent out a press release yesterday which announced its plan to allow a leadership team to run the company for the next six months while Wylie is on sick leave.

Minister Imbert added, "That is not consistent with what we as Government think should be done. The company will not be run by any team of people over the next six months. We have identified someone to come in and run the Heritage Petroleum Company, someone with the kind of expertise that is required."

The new board will be tasked with settling any outstanding matters surrounding Wylie's employment.

- by Bavita Gopaulchan