Former Senior International Monetary Fund (IMF) Resident Representative in Jamaica, Dr. Hyginus “Gene” Leon, took office as the sixth President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) today (May 4).
The St. Lucia native, who served as the IMF’s standard bearer locally from 2010 to 2013, succeeds Jamaican Dr. William Warren Smith, who retired on April 30 after 10 years at the helm.
Dr. Leon comes to the position with 35 years’ experience in economics, financial policy development, and executive management, more than 20 of which were spent with the IMF.
The new President will lead a team of more than 200 employees at the regional multilateral institution, which is headquartered in Bridgetown, Barbados.
A CDB communiqué indicates that high on Dr. Leon’s agenda is programming CDB support for Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs) through COVID-19 recovery.
This, while advancing the Bank’s mandate to contribute to the harmonious growth and sustainable development of member countries and promote cooperation and integration among them.
“A solid foundation for the evolution of a financially strong Bank that responds to the development needs and priorities of its BMCs has been laid by successive leaders. Going forward, we will need to emphasise innovation to generate and refine new ideas and create opportunities, enhance measurement and evaluation for more effective implementation, foster effective partnerships and knowledge-sharing to promote transformation, build on our collective ingenuity and experience, and improve quality of life for our citizens.” Dr. Leon said.
Prior to his appointment as CDB President, Dr. Leon served the institution as an economist, and was Director of Research at the Central Bank of Barbados.
He was also in charge of IMF programmes and operations in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and countries in the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, formerly the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
The Council is a regional intergovernmental, political and economic union, comprising the Persian Gulf Arab states of – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
The Caribbean Development Bank was established in 1970 for the purpose of contributing to the harmonious economic growth and development of its 19 BMCs.
In addition to the BMCs, the Bank’s membership includes four regional non-borrowing members – Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela – and five non-regional, non-borrowing members – Canada, China, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom.
The institution’s total assets as at December 31, 2018 stood at US$3.24 billion, inclusive of US$1.75 billion of Ordinary Capital Resources, and US$1.49 billion of Special Funds Resources.
The CDB is rated Aa1 Stable with Moody’s, AA+ Stable with Standard & Poor’s, and AA+ Negative with Fitch Ratings.