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New CEO for First Citizens by month-end

A new chief executive officer for the State-owned First Citizens financial group is expected to be chosen before the end of the month.

Group chairman Nyree Alfonso, who spoke with the Express on Monday via telephone , said the candidates had been short-listed to nine potential contenders out of an initial 76 applicants.

She said the selection panel would be commencing interviews tomorrow which would continue into next week to facilitate a candidate who was out of the country. The selection committee, Alfonso said, would include herself, three other members of the board and a retired banker whom she declined to name.

First Citizens had begun advertising locally, regionally and internationally for a new CEO in July to find a replacement for its former long-standing chief, now Minister of Finance, Larry Howai. Howai, who headed the bank since 1997, took early retirement in May to assume his new political portfolio. Deputy CEO Larry Nath has been acting in the position since then.

The Express spoke to Nath after the formal opening of Divali Nagar 2012 in Chaguanas on Sunday night and asked him if he had applied, to which he replied, "I hope so."

Alfonso said the board would likely be looking for a local replacement.

"I would want to say yes, keep it local. We want a CEO to have certain connections in local market and clientele. A CEO is expected to network and be able to network. The board has weighed the options on whether it will make sense to bring in a foreigner into this market and ask him to perform at optimum level. Regionally you can break it, but (a local candidate would be preferred)," she said.

That being said, she clarified that several international and regional candidates were "thoroughly evaluated" in the initial screening process.

—Carla Bridglal

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