Francis Paco Kennedy
Francis Xavier Kennedyserved GraceKennedy Limited, co-founded by his grandfather, starting as a billing clerk and earning increasingly senior positions in the merchandising, manufacturing, shipping, food trading, export trading and corporate development divisions — both in Jamaica and overseas. He was appointed executive director of the company in May 1970 and retired in December 2005 as the chief special project officer, 46 years after joining GraceKennedy.
Francis “Paco” Kennedy (given the Spanish nickname for Francis so as not to be confused with his uncle, for whom he as named) was often described as having an enduring commitment to nation building. He served his country in countless ways, working not only in the boardroom, but also in inner-city communities across Kingston, seeking to improve the condition of the city and the people he loved.
Among his many contributions was his outstanding ability to promote closer ties between the U.S. minority business community and Jamaica. He consistently reached out to the Jamaican diaspora in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada, and was receptive to the minority business community in the United States in participating in trade relations with Jamaica.
In 1998, Mr. Kennedy and GraceKennedy sponsored the National Minority Business Council’s trade and investment mission to Jamaica. Several federal and state agencies, and minority entrepreneurs attended the four-day mission. Subsequently, Mr. Kennedy sought the assistance of the NMBC to assist the agencies he headed in Jamaica in their redevelopment plans for the city of Kingston
His instinct for service, led him to serve as president of the Jamaica Shipping Association and president of the Caribbean Shipping Association while still working at GraceKennedy. At the time of Mr. Kennedy’s passing, he was a member of the Partnership for Jamaica – National Council, and was serving his second term as president of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce.
His own indelible mark on the Jamaican landscape was recognized in 2013, with the Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation. In 2014, Francis “Paco” Kennedy was recognised for his contribution to national and economic development with Jamaica’s third highest National Honor given to a private citizen, the Order of Distinction – Commander Class.
Jesuit educated, he attended school in Jamaicabefore attending Georgetown Prep in the United States, graduatingat the top of his class.He would later pursue the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School in 1974.
Mr. Kennedy passed in October 2014