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Taylor wasn’t pushed!

Geralyn Edward, Business Editor

Taylor wasn’t pushed!

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It was Ralph Taylor’s decision to resign as president and chief executive officer of Almond Resorts Inc., not Neal & Massy’s.
What’s more, Neal & Massy’s chief executive officer (CEO) Gervase Warner has told the SUNDAY SUN he rests no blame for the collapse of the indigenous hotel group at the feet of the Barbadian hotelier.
“[On Friday] Mr Taylor tendered his resignation effective April 30 and that is a choice he has made. We did not push him – of course not,” Warner insisted.
“In fact, he has agreed to stay on in a consultant capacity to help us manage through the situation we are in and complete the sale of some of the properties – working through the closure,” he added.
Warner, who heads the parent company Almond Resorts Inc., said it was a confluence of events that led to the demise of the 400-room Almond Beach Village in St Peter and the pending sale of sister hotels Almond Beach Club and Almond Casuarina.
“I don’t blame Mr Taylor . . . . You know, in this business, none of us has crystal balls. Over time, you will make a few mistakes and you will get things right.
“We all in business will do things that in retrospect you would have wanted to do differently. So, for example, I would have wanted to have the conversation coming out of the shareholders’ meeting differently, but I will take responsibility for some of those things.
“In business, you will make mistakes but it is what you do when you make a mistake,” Warner said in an interview prior to his Press conference Friday.
Warner, who took over as president and CEO of Neal & Massy following the death of Bernard Dulal-Whiteway just over two years ago, said corporate decisions about Almond were shared responsibilities.
“The mistakes at Almond were shared by the board of directors, not just Mr Taylor, before we ever got involved,” the Trinidadian executive explained.
Referring to the rapid expansion of the Almond group in 2006 and the millions taken on in debt, Warner said nobody could have predicted the deep financial and economic crisis that would hit the global economy.
“They never saw crisis coming at them. Had they done that, they would have gone about things differently. They might not have expanded that fast, they might not have used as much debt and they would have been in a much better position when the crisis hit.”
Asked whether he had to get Almond off the Neal & Massy books because it made his brief tenure as CEO look bad, Warner dismissed the suggestion.
“No, I could never. I don’t think I could be effective in my job if I thought that way . . . . I go back to who we are – ‘Neal & Massy – a force for good, the most responsible and profitable investment holding/management company in the Caribbean basin’ that informs what we do,” he insisted.
“We needed to deal with the situation responsibly. Some people would have packed up stumps and left a long time ago. They would have ended it with a much sharper [cut].
“And so, I hope people would respect what we are trying to do and how we are handling the situation. We had to balance our own shareholders’ interests and the 1 600 Barbadians who are shareholders in Neal & Massy, as well as the national interest of Barbados and recognizing the role that tourism played,” Warner said.