Fired or not? Decision made but not yet delivered

The prolonged battle between Citrus Products of Belize Limited (CPBL)’s major shareholders over whether or not to keep Dr. Henry Canton as the company’s chief executive officer may soon end. CPBL’s new board has reportedly decided to replace him.

Chairman of the board, Doug Singh, said that while the board was “in the process of working on it [the reported termination], Canton remains in office.
Singh was reserved in his comments, saying that he will remain responsible until everything is finalized.

The details of Canton’s retirement package have not been released, but The Reporter has learned from a well-positioned source within the industry that Canton’s post will likely be advertised before the month of April is over.
Canton was named by Banks Holdings Limited, one of the company’s two major shareholders in the CPBL, as a Director on the new Board.

That announcement came earlier this month and already there are some people in the industry who have raised the question of Canton’s worth to Banks Holdings Ltd., based on the apparent insistence on the part of Banks to have him remain one way or another in a key role.

Questions that have been raised include whether or not the new board will conduct any kind of investigation into the way Canton ran the company during his term of office, particularly in light of the recent government-sponsored “bail-out” two months ago.

Again, this question is grounded in the history of the company which has ndergone many changes since its inception in 1948 but which has never been in such dire financial straits as it was under his management.

The Government’s intervention in February, which was accompanied by a Memorandum of Understanding, resulted in a new composition to the company’s board, which is now comprised of two representatives from the Citrus Growers Association, two from Banks Holdings Limited, one from the Social Security Board, and one each from Heritage Bank and the Government of Belize.

The Reporter has made several attempts to contact Canton, but has been told that he is “out of office”.

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