| Sir Kyffin Donald Simpson, KA, CBE
Kyffin Donald Simpson is a Barbadian businessman.
Early life and education
Sir Kyffin Simpson was born on 29 September 1942 in the parish of St. John. He completed his secondary education in Barbados at the Lodge School and went on to the UK to continue his studies.
On his return to Barbados he worked in several industries including the retail sector. This prepared him for his future in the commercial world. Mr. Simpson has a natural affinity for people which endears him to everyone that comes into contact with him. His love of cars propelled him to take advantage of the opportunity to manage several gas stations in the early 1970’s and this provided a platform of development for the industry that he grew into. So when the door opened to own a small and failing Volkswagen and then Mercedes car dealership, he grasped the opportunity and made a success of it.
During the Energy Crisis of 1973/1974, Mr. Simpson realized that there was a need for a fuel efficient and cost effective vehicle as an alternative. He also recognized that there was a large entrepreneurial class of Barbadians who were not able to afford a vehicle for their businesses. He took a leap of faith and travelled to Japan to persuade a relatively new player -- Suzuki Motor Company -- to export Suzuki for the first time to this hemisphere. This relationship has led Suzuki Motor Company to establish a successful presence in the entire Caribbean region, and parts of North, South and Central America.
In 1976, Mr. Kyffin Simpson founded Simpson Motors and this has laid the groundwork for the group of companies that exists today and which represents such brands as Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Isuzu, Mercedes, Chrysler, Porsche, John Deere, JCB and Ingersoll Rand/Bobcat with a regional network from Bermuda in the north to Guyana in the south and from Central America in the west to Barbados in the East.
In 2005 Simpson Oil Limited (SOL), an affiliate of Interamericana Trading Corporation, headed by Kyffin Simpson made a buy-out of the retail and commercial fuel operations of Shell Antilles & Guiana’s Limited making it the largest independent oil company in the Caribbean. In 2006, SOL acquired Shell’s marketing and retail assets in Puerto Rico building this network even further. Most recently in September 2007, SOL announced its acquisition of additional stations from Exxon Mobil in Guyana, Suriname and Haiti, thus giving SOL one-third of the market in the 15 countries it now operates.
In addition to being Chairman of the Simpson Group of Companies Kyffin Simpson has served as director and shareholder of several major corporations including a charter director of the FirstCaribbean International Bank. He is also a member of the Board of the prestigious Americas Society and Council of the Americas whose mission is to promote awareness of the political, cultural and economic challenges currently facing the Western Hemisphere.
In 1999, Kyffin Simpson was awarded the title of Master Entrepreneur by Ernst and Young. In 2004 he was awarded the Commander of the British Empire (CBE) by Her Majesty and an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree (LLD) from the University of the West Indies.
Mr. Simpson has rendered outstanding service to Barbados, not only in the automotive field but through discreet benevolence to many local, regional and international charitable organizations, churches and missions and by serving on various boards such as Youth for Christ, Teen Challenge, the Barbados Children’s Trust and the Christ for all Nations organization.
Mr. Kyffin Simpson is married to Roberta. They have five children and nine grandchildren.
Honours and awards
The Accolade of Knight of St. Andrew was conferred in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to the development of Barbados by the establishment of the first Caribbean Company in the energy industry and his lifelong contribution to business and philanthropy.