(CMR) Cayman Airways board chairman Jude Scott resigned Monday night amid concerns that the board's strategic action items are not being prioritized by the Ministry of Tourism and Transport. The ministry's response has been to appoint an immediate replacement within 24 hours.
Kris Bergstrom, board director and former Cayman Airways pilot has taken over the chairmanship.
It appears he will be taking over from Scott with immediate effect. Sources have shared that Scott provided a detailed resignation letter to the ministry laying out his concerns about the direction the airline is headed and the lack of action from the MOT.
The resignation comes at a critical time for the organization as it continues to expand its destinations and attempts to move forward in this post-COVID recovery era.
Scott is the Chief Executive Officer at Cayman Finance since 2014 and former CEO at Maples and Calder, as well as the former audit partner at Ernst & Young. Well respected in the world of finance and business, he was appointed to the CAL board in September 2021 after a previous stint in the same position under the UDP government. He also resigned during that time.
In other Cayman Airways related news, the decision was made recently to promote Kel Thompson to Captain this month so that he would be able to retire in six months' time with all of the benefits of being a captain. Mandatory retirement for CAL pilots is 65 years old. Thompson was a captain previously but left the organization for a number of years before returning in 2016 as a first officer.
Thompson started with the airline in 1978 and served as managing director for several years in the early 1990s.
“But why did they waste money to train someone and upgrade them just for 6 months until he retires”
Kris Bergstrom is President of Edgewater Development Ltd. for over 24 years.
A recent vacancy in the airline and four other first officers who were sent overseas to complete simulator training for the position were all bypassed for it. One observer noted that these pilots are younger and actually “have more seniority over Kel.” They were surprised that after spending thousands of dollars on training, this was the outcome. They noted:
“The sim training for a full upgrade costs tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayer's money for an airline that is already heavily subsidized by the government. Imagine our surprise to hear that this seemingly political move had been made. If they are not going to promote on the basis of fairness, then they will continue to lose good Caymanian pilots.”
This is a developing story and more information will be provided in due course.