MY FIRST JOB: Richard Cozier
My first job straight out of school was in 1972 at Price Waterhouse Coopers as an audit junior at the age of 18. I’ve always loved numbers. Don’t give me a crossword; give me a Sudoku!
In sixth form at Harrison College, you had a lot of time on your hands. We prepared for nine subjects at O Level and then we got into A levels and had only two or three subjects to pursue – yet we were at school for the same amount of time. There was one period each week called career guidance and the school would host professionals from across various disciplines in Barbados. We had lawyers come in, architects, taxation people – the entire gamut. As is still the case today, law held an allure and everybody in class was talking about case studies but that didn’t interest me. Architecture involved drawing and I couldn’t draw, so that was ruled out. When the auditor made his presentation and explained what his job entailed and, “Auditing is about numbers,” he piqued my interest! Then he mentioned the salaries and that was even better! That was the impetus to pursue auditing!
Being an audit trainee provided me with a solid background in understanding finances and controls. Auditing is all about ensuring the controls are there and gives you an appreciation of what those controls are and why they are necessary. It also gave me the ability to understand numbers on a balance sheet and how to interpret them, and that makes an enormous difference in today’s world.
I left in 1979 and moved on to Banks Breweries and I’ve been here ever since. I certainly did not envision myself in this position. I think that by and large, the best part of working at what is now the BHL Group
is that we have a dedicated staff and operate as a BHL family. We all “pull” for each other, which is great. It is heartening that you have the support of colleagues at all levels. This is also a company that fully understands its social obligations to the community and manifests them through a strong corporate social responsibility agenda. Back then and even now, those were the foundational elements of the company that attracted me and certainly helped to influence the leader I am today.