Sir Franklyn Wilson is the chairman of Sunshine Holdings Limited (SHL), one of the oldest and largest conglomerates in The Bahamas. He is a prominent businessman, former legislator and land developer who has been repeatedly honored by the government and private entities for his vast contributions to the business landscape and national development.
Sir Franklyn also sits as chairman for the following companies:
- Focol Holdings Ltd., a company listed on the Bahamas International Stock Exchange (BISX). It is also the Bahamas and Turks & Caicos distributor of Shell;
- Arawak Homes Ltd., a real estate development company that has developed more “affordable houses” than any other company in the history of The Bahamas;
- Sunshine Insurance (Agents & Brokers), The Bahamas correspondent of Marsh, the world’s largest insurance brokerage;
- Royal Star Assurance Ltd., one of the largest general insurers in The Bahamas and The Cayman Islands and with the highest AM Best rating of any general insurer in The Bahamas;
- Sunshine Finance Ltd.;
- Jack’s Bay Developers Ltd., a substantial land developer at Eleuthera, Bahamas
- Sunshine Group of Companies is itself a holding company with interests in the bakery business, retail and the armored car services industry.
In 1971, Sir Franklyn formed his own accounting firm and later went on to serve as the managing partner of Deloitte &Touche, Bahamas up to 1994.
He has membership on the Board of Advisors to the President of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova, Scotia, his college alma mater.
In 1972, Sir Franklyn was elected to Parliament – one of the youngest persons to have ever been elected. He has served as Chairman of The Council of the College of The Bahamas (COB) which has commenced plans to operate the Franklyn Wilson Graduate School of Business; as the founding Chairman of each of The Bahamas Chapter of The Young President’s Organization (YPO) and the World President’s Organization (WPO).
In 1979, Sir Franklyn founded the Bahamas chapter of Junior Achievement, a non-profit organization that educates young people around the world about free enterprise. He served as chairman for 10 years.
Sir Franklyn was the founding Chairman of Junior Achievement Bahamas and, for nearly 10 years, served as a Director of Junior Achievement Worldwide; and as a Trustee of Elmira College at Elmira, New York.
Several national trade unions, including the country’s largest, have honored him for his role in the advancement of the overall labor movement. Forty years after being one of 12 incorporators of The Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants, he received that organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the “Chairman Emeritus” of YPO. He has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from St. Barnabas (Anglican/Episcopal) Church, and has been awarded a “Global Trumpet Award” by the Trumpet Foundation based in Atlanta.
His wife, Sharon Lady Wilson, is an attorney by profession and is the former President of The Senate of The Bahamas.
University of The Bahamas – Private Giving
From 2002-2007 Sir Franklyn Wilson served as Chairman of the Council, College of The Bahamas (COB).
During his tenure, Sir Franklyn made invaluable contributions to the advancement of the College in general, and to creating a new leadership culture at the College. Under his leadership the Michael H. Eldon Building was purchased, along with the gifting of 50 acres of property in East Grand Bahama, the site of the Northern Bahamas Campus.
In June 2003, on the occasion of the College of The Bahamas Commencement Exercise, Sir Franklyn announced the establishment of an endowment fund commemorating his beloved brother, Stanley Wilson.The name of the award is the Stanley Wilson Award for Excellence in Research.
This award was created for the expressed purpose of facilitating the implementation of an award for excellence in research and to assist in motivating College of The Bahamas personnel to engage in meaningful research.
Consistent with this pronouncement, COB’s strategic plan also addresses, in various sections, the importance of research and ways of promoting, recognizing and rewarding work in this area.
Sir Franklyn has played a significant role in the college’s transition to not just a university, buta credible tertiary institution. In addition to charting a course to take COB to the next level, he oversaw the selection process for the new president, was instrumental in personally providing and securing funding for many projects and led the charge to increase green spaces on the Oakes Field campus.
The Wilsons funded the endowment with a donation of $50,000, which to this day has benefited the hard work of numerous select published university professors where the recognition traditionally has taken place around the university’s commencement exercises.
The Stanley Wilson Award for Excellence in Research recognizes research published in peer-reviewed journals or by academic publishers. The research must enhance the reputation of the College of The Bahamas as an institution of excellence. The work should make a significant contribution to international as well as Bahamian research literature. Upward of nine faculty members distinguished themselves as recipients of this prestigious award.
In 2009,Sir Franklyn and Lady Wilson made a donation to the Athletics Department in commemorating the memory of investment banker,Hywel Jones.
In 2010, the Wilsons,who were diverse in their giving,funded the Ednol Smith Book Award in Accounting. They were also avid supporters of Dr. Rhonda Chipman-Johnson’s Annual Tea Party.
On June 14, 2010,Sir Franklyn and Lady Wilson signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the College of The Bahamas, further demonstrating their commitment to the College. This commitment amounted to a total of $1 million. This contribution was named the Franklyn & Sharon Wilson Capital Development Fund.
The Wilson family’s dedication to capital and infrastructural improvements of the College of The Bahamas was evident. Their generosity was infectious where soon others, including the Royal Bank of Canada and the Canadian Friends of the College of The Bahamas also joined in the effort. Further support also came from Sunshine Holdings, which got wind of the decision to build the Franklyn R. Wilson Graduate Business Centre. They contributed substantial technical assistance, architectural and engineering support along with land surveying, project management and quantity surveying expertise. The importance of the marked increase in private support was unprecedented, thanks in no small part to the Wilsons’ giving, their reach and valued support.
The Sir Franklyn R. Wilson Graduate Business Centre is nearing completion. It will house a RBC Lecture Theatre and state-of-the-art classrooms which the University’s MBA program will embrace as its home.
Sir Franklyn has proven to be a visionary in Bahamian society in several spheres, but particularly in the realm of finance. He was instrumental in shepherding the engagement of key stakeholdersin the pre-VAT era where he planned meetings fostering dialogue around ideas and opportunity. He led the discussion between civil society, the university, the International Development Bank and others, keeping an eye on key inputs and proven techniques focusing on expected results; the remedy of a new tax regime for a nation standing at a crossroad, facing adversity, economic challenge and recurring natural disasters.
Sir Franklyn and Lady Wilson have led the way and joined other major donors in transforming the landscape of private giving, while in turn contributing to the transformation of the University of the Bahamas.
On November 10, 2016 President Rodney Smith in his address at the Charter Day ceremony for the University of The Bahamas foreshadowed the further engagement of the Wilson family where Lady Wilson was named the lead of the fundraising campaign for the University’s Student Activities Centre which will be named after her.
Private giving has been vital to the University of The Bahamas’ advancement not only for the much needed injection of valued resources given by individuals like Sir Franklyn and Lady Wilson and family.
Their efforts have yielded exponential dividends for the University of The Bahamas, which is poised to attain even higher levels of growth in pursuit of its mission to support and drive national development through teaching, research and innovation and service to the community.