by Student Accountant
09 Apr 2009
CEO, NEAL AND MASSY HOLDINGS, TRINIDAD
'Winning an Achievement Award is one the highlights of my forty‑plus years in business,' says Bernard Dulal-Whiteway. 'I am honoured to receive the Award, and hope this will serve as inspiration to my fellow ACCA members in the Caribbean, especially those aspiring to become members of the ACCA fraternity.'
Bernard's career began in 1966, when he won a Texaco Scholarship to study accountancy in the UK. On completing his ACCA exams in 1970, he returned to his home country of Trinidad where he has stayed ever since.
He is now the CEO of the Neal and Massy Group, one of the largest public corporations in the Caribbean. Neal and Massy companies represent an impressive range of interests, including energy, automotive equipment, retail, and financial services.
Bernard has grown the company significantly - with profits increasing by over 500%, annual revenues increasing from US$400m to over US$1.5bn, and over 10,000 people now employed. From 2007 to 2008, he steered the Group through one of the most prominent transnational acquisitions in the region, when Neal and Massy took control of the Barbados Shipping and Trading Company Ltd.
Bernard traces his career success firmly back to his ACCA roots: 'Since qualifying as an accountant, I have been able to use my accounting skills, business knowledge, and experience to improve the performance and governance of the companies with which I have been involved.
'I believe that the ACCA programme is the most comprehensive of all the accounting qualifications, and is certainly an excellent foundation for a career in management. I have also been impressed by ACCA's campaign to support continuing professional development, as none of us should ever stop learning.'
Guided by the principle that ‘by working with people, we can produce outstanding results', Bernard has built a strong leadership team and a loyal workforce.
Bernard has also re-energised the Group's contribution to the local community by increasing the funding given to the Neal and Massy Foundation. Group subsidiaries all contribute 1% of their pre-tax profits to the Foundation, which funds scholarships for employees' children, disburses annual grants and donations to over 30 NGOs, and contributes towards several national community projects.
'I have always considered myself a people person,' says Bernard. 'My management style is one of collaboration and teamwork, and I believe that an ability to motivate your employees is one of the most important attributes a manager can possess - it is much easier to have people working together for a common objective than in opposition.'
Bernard's personal commitments, outside of his corporate responsibilities, also demonstrate an impressive breadth. He has served on many private sector and public boards, including the Industrial Development Corporation, Trintoc, Iscott and the Betting Levy Board.
He is currently chairman of Yara Trinidad Ltd and a director of Republic Bank Ltd, Trinidad Nitrogen Co Ltd, and the Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago. He is also an active member of many Government committees, and participated in the Government's 2020 Vision project as chair of the Sub-committee on Industry and Entrepreneurship. He is also the Honorary Consul General for the Republic of Korea.
Through his many activities, and his business leadership, Bernard has always promoted the accountancy profession, and ACCA. 'I believe that it is important to have positive role models, and I have made every effort, during my career, to be one myself,' Bernard says. However, he is well aware that the profession still has work to do: 'In the past few years, the accounting profession has faced tremendous challenges, particularly as a result of business failures such as Enron. Accountants now must be able to give much more information to investors, and in a timely manner.
However, because of the greedy and fraudulent actions of a small number of executives, we are faced with the situation where perhaps we have gone too far in our quest to provide information. One could certainly argue that regulators have introduced a number of accounting standards which do not seem to make sense and which are perhaps the response to the actions of a few dishonest and unscrupulous individuals. In my own region, even though our companies are not very large, we are having to deal with the costs of complying with standards which may not be very relevant to our circumstances.'
Bernard is one of the Caribbean's leading businessmen, recognised for his integrity and fair play in business dealings. Just before receiving his ACCA award, he was presented with the Trinidad and Tobago Chaconia Medal (Gold) National Award, in honour of the service he has performed for his country. His work has not only benefited the employees of Neal and Massy and the accountancy profession, but has also contributed towards the wellbeing of the entire nation.