The news broke recently that accomplished investment banker and businessman Christopher Williams has been given the mantle to lead the newly formed Professional Football Jamaica Ltd (PFJL).
Williams, a proud Jamaica College old boy, is tasked with the responsibility of leading the body previously known as the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA), organizers of the country’s top flight club competition. Williams, who started his professional career back in 1993, has the challenge of establishing a comprehensive strategic plan that is both feasible and viable. Developing and executing this plan will be especially difficult in light of the ongoing pandemic that has significantly impacted local industries, especially that of sports in more ways than one. His first order of business will be to carve out a well thought out plan that will see to the approval for the resumption of the Red Stripe Premier League.
Stakeholders are expecting Williams and his team to totally re-imagine the format of delivery for the local competition with an aim to safeguard the health and well-being of players, staff and stakeholders while also ensuring that the competition is able to attract the level of investment needed for its well needed growth and development.
It is not the first time that Chris Williams has been asked to take on a major challenge. In 2010, he was charged with the responsibility of leading the newly founded PROVEN Management Limited, a company that he co-founded, where he currently serves as President & CEO, in an industry that was already being dominated with key players locally and regionally. Williams served as an executive at Dehring, Bunting and Golding (which was sold to Scotia Group in 2006) before leaving for NCB Capital Markets in 2004 where he served as Managing Director. Williams has a proven track record wherever he goes.
Chris, who holds a MBA in Strategic Marketing and Finance from York University in Canada, is known for his strong business acumen and his technical expertise and ability to attract significant investment to fund his strategic imperatives. Chris, being handed the armband, may be a master stroke and could be the solution to the Premier League’s issues. One could say that the local top flight has been grossly under-funded over the years but his well-trained ability to prepare an eye catching prospectus augurs well for the future of the local top flight competition.
For far too long Jamaican football lovers have not seen a comprehensive strategic agenda that is innovative and futuristic and is well communicated across all spheres. Williams is known to be audacious in his aspirations as a career investment banker and is expected to bring a similar mentality to the organizing body. He sets high targets and has high expectations and works to inspire in his team the will to work assiduously at attaining them. We hope that through his stewardship we will see a strengthening of the partnership with the Jamaica Football Federation so that the league will be transformed from what is now a truly semi-professional situation to one that can truly be considered as professional, to include, but of course not limited to, high quality playing surfaces.
Chris takes up the mantle of leading the body at a time that is unprecedented. There is no playbook on how to guide the execution of the Premier League in the social and economic context of Jamaica against the background of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be interesting to see how Williams and his team will put in place the necessary measures to safeguard the players and staff while keeping the competition afloat. The career investment banker will have to be creative in his pitch to potential investors, who now have a greater propensity to be conservative in their spending due to the macroeconomic conditions of the time, in light of the expected loss in revenue streams.
Chris has ‘proven’ himself in many occasions to be one that is innovative, agile and aspirational and considering what the league needs and what he has to offer, he may well be the right man for the job at this time.