The pledge came at a four-hour “impassioned but orderly” open meeting for members on October 1, in the wake of strong protests over the decision to sell the trade body’s annual fair (ATG No 2408).
Hosted by BADA chairman Michael Cohen at the association’s Bloomsbury offices, the meeting tackled concerns raised by the BADA Action Group, which has called for an EGM on BADA’s future. Discussion focused on the recent fair sale, the 2015 sale of BADA’s Rutland Gate, Knightsbridge, property and a redesign of BADA’s logo.
“The lack of transparency [in decision-making] is why our group is requisitioning an EGM,” Tony Roberts, of Cider House Galleries, said at the meeting’s start. “We all understand BADA must change. But that requires greater engagement with the members.”
In response, BADA agreed to more consultation ahead of key decisions, while defending the need to keep certain commercial details confidential. Afterwards, Cohen said: “It’s clear that communication between the council and membership is in serious need of improvement, in both directions, and that this situation needs, immediately, to be rectified.”
More than 50 questions, many submitted in advance, were responded to. Nearly half the membership – 150 dealers – tuned into a live webcast of the meeting.
Cohen is proposing to repeat the exercise at least once a year in addition to the trade body’s AGM.
The BADA Action Group thanked the council for hosting the meeting, describing it as a “useful” forum, and “impassioned but orderly”. It said: “We await the BADA’s responses as to how some of the concerns raised by the membership, will be addressed.
“We must put BADA’s solutions to all our supporters, before any final decision is made upon whether an EGM will be called.”
The meeting’s first half was dominated by the sale of an 80% stake in the fair.
Kaye Michie, BADA’s fair director, outlined the pressures leading to up to the sale, including that the event was “getting smaller and smaller, yet restricted to BADA membership for exhibitors. It’s fair to say we were not able to continue as we were.”
See letters this week.