Caines strives to keep life balance as he marks a year in charge of Digicel


Digicel CEO Wayne Caines

But for Wayne Caines, CEO of Digicel, who marked his first year in office last Wednesday, it has been a seamless transition from prosecutor to politician and now company boss.

During an interview yesterday, Mr. Caines spoke about a number of issues, ranging from the biggest challenge he has faced since taking over the hotseat to what steps Digicel has taken to overcome the economic crisis.

He also talked on the key changes in his transition from Senator to CEO, the steep learning curve he has endured and what makes his company stand out from its competitors.

“I think the biggest challenge is the personal/private balance,” he said.

“I am usually at my desk at eight in the morning and leave at 7.30 p.m. at night, so for me, it is about trying to achieve the right balance. My wife and daughter understand that this is part of the job.

“But at the end of the day, it is all about being a job that is full-on and one of those things where the buck stops with me – I knew that when I took the job on.”

The smooth-talking and charismatic Bermudian, who has gained a valuable insight into both the public and private sector during his career, admitted that his time in politics could be “very polarised” in places and that he enjoyed the freedom of doing his own thing as head of one of the Island’s fastest growing companies.

“In politics you are constantly limited by the number of people you can reach in Bermuda, but with the cellular phone industry I am able to be in contact with everyone,” he said.

“I find in business people want a product or service and they want it cheaper than the competitors are offering and with the best customer service and we are able to go to them and say that is what we do and deliver it.”

Mr. Caines, who appeared to enjoy a healthy working relationship with his team throughout the interview and site tour of Digicel’s head office in Washington Mall II and its switch facility in Cumberland House, revealed that he had learnt his strengths and knew when to play to them as well as the right time to rely on his co-workers.

Indeed he reckons that his company is unique in its multi-national set-up, with 49 members of staff from across the world, including young Bermudians and experienced expatriates.

“For me, it has been an interesting and dramatic change from politics and in a role as a prosecutor into a CEO of a company,” he said.

“I am excited about the possibilities, not just for me here at Digicel, but on a personal level – I have fallen in love with this business.”

During his first six weeks in the office, Mr. Caines was whisked away from Bermuda to see and experience first hand Digicel’s headquarters in Jamaica, gaining a complete overview of the company’s worldwide operations and the way it does business.

He was able to meet CEOs of other Digicel markets in the Caribbean and South America, such as Panama, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and other countries, in addition to undergoing training and helping to launch the company in the likes of the British Virgin Islands.

Mr. Caines fulfilled a punishing schedule, covering everything from finance and technology to sales, marketing and customer care before working late into the night drawing up promotions, product launches and business meetings during his stint overseas – all an integral part to the preparation for his role as CEO back in Bermuda.

And with Digicel serving more than 50 percent of the Island’s cellular phone market – according to the company’s own statistics – he has had to be at the top of his game to drive forward initiatives ranging from staff training and development in house (the Digicel Leadership Institute – which yesterday saw 14 employees graduate from the intensive programme) and overseas (with a high demand for the Bermuda office’s BlackBerry expertise across the Caribbean) to overseeing the investment of millions of dollars into the maintenance and upgrade of the company’s network.

Among some of his proudest achievements to date, Mr. Caines cites the launch of Digicel’s ‘Free Incoming Calls’ and ‘Free After Three’ (thirty free minutes for every three minutes users spend on the phone) offers, which he believes have been well received by a discerning public always on the lookout for the latest technological developments and enhancements.

“What we have to do is look for innovative ways to continually challenge ourselves and offer a value campaign,” he said.

“We have a team of people that sits down together, comes up with great ideas and puts them together to produce a product that is going to make us stay ahead of the market.”

Despite having to cut back on spending and limit some of the company’s long-term plans during these hard economic times, Mr. Caines has been able to look to the positives of the situation, focusing on maximising every opportunity the company has to promote its products and services to the market and its customers.

If it is a case working with the customer care staff addressing calls, going out into the field with his team of skilled engineers or travelling to outposts in the Caribbean and South America to set up exciting new projects, or just monitoring the correspondence on his BlackBerry outside the office, there is no job too small or large for Digicel’s forward-thinking CEO.

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