COCI Appoints Jude Houston as New Executive Director

The Board of Directors of the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry (COCI), through its president Benjamin Ortega is pleased to announce and welcome the appointment of its new Executive Director, Jude Houston.

The Board of Directors contracted consulting firm, BDO with a special task focused on the recruitments of their New director and other Critical functions noted within the COCI organizational chart. This task was fulfilled with BDO’s human resource specialist, who guided the recruitment process and assisted the board in what they labelled as a transparent process.

Although the process took much longer than expected and due to the current COVID-19 pandemic including the imposed curfew on the island, now this is the right time for COCI to improve our services and strategically strengthen the operations, Ortega said on Thursday.

Houston was chosen from among a list of qualified candidates that went through a three-phased recruitment process in an effort to ensure the selection of the best candidate for the position of Executive Director. Candidates included local as well as international professionals seeking employment at COCI.

With qualified work experiences, Houston worked with the Government of St. Maarten for the past eight years as a Senior Policy Advisor and as the acting head of the Economic Affairs Department, tasked with managing projects and processes, economic analysis, investment promotion, business development, economic monitoring, and evaluation.

Additionally, he has served as the country’s Innovation Director from 2014 under the Association of Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTA). An Innovation Project funded by the 10th EDF programme that focused primarily on the business community.

Given Houston’s experience and competence, he has exhibited a deep understanding of the importance of engaging and fostering relationships on a local, regional, and international level and also an understanding of the local business community and the dynamics within the local economy. These are just some of the necessary attributes that are indeed required and are expected to propel COCI to the next level, in terms of improving its services to the Business community and the general public alike.

As the new director, Houston has as his key goals apart from the efficient operations of the Chamber and the improvement of services to the business community, to also focus on the necessary institutional framework and measures for the establishment of businesses but to also ensure there is optimal growth and development.

Houston will meet with key stakeholders within the first few months of his appointment to have the direct introduction and to foster the continuous working relationship that was set forward by previous directors and the board of COCI.