BADA chief executive Marco Forgione
BADA chief executive Marco Forgione who is proposing to cut the size of the council of the dealers' association.

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The proposal to reduce the council from its current 19 seats to 12 is part of an overhaul of BADA’s articles of association, designed to further modernise the near-100-year-old trade body.

Other changes include greater use of technology to enable members to vote electronically and to help council members based outside London take part in meetings.

However the plan for a smaller council got a mixed reaction from dealers interviewed by ATG, with several dealers describing the idea as “undemocratic” and “more London-centric”. One central London dealer, who asked not to be named, said: “We should not reduce the voice of members.”

However, Marco Forgione, BADA chief executive hired in 2015 to revamp the association, defended the proposals as “most significant and necessary”.

He added: “We live in a rapidly changing world and need a dynamic organisation to seize the opportunities and address the challenges we face. Within this, we are looking to ensure our decision making is robust and more speedy.”

Greater participation

Forgione said a plan to use teleconferencing for council meetings was designed to encourage greater participation from outside London.

“Physical council meetings are not always convenient for regional members,” he said. Such use of technology, new task groups and a proposal to co-opt two councillors with skills BADA requires would mark a “fresh approach to the way council operates”.

Other dealers canvassed by ATG support the plans. John Howard, chairman of the Cotswolds Art & Antique Dealers’ Association, said he was voting to support the changes. “A committee of 18 is a nightmare operationally. Twelve is a good number to work with.”

The association's voting members will give their verdict on the plans at an EGM later today, with Forgione setting himself the goal of gaining 75% of the vote. “Because these are such significant changes, I would only feel happy with a 75% vote in their favour,” he said.

Also included in the proposals, which come as BADA prepares for its centenary year in 2018, is a change to the association’s financial year to enable better planning.

Last year the association sold its Knightsbridge headquarters and recently moved into a newly purchased six-storey office in London’s EC1 district.