GBTA Board Candidates Appear To Differ On Proposed Bylaw Changes - Business Travel News

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GBTA Board Candidates Appear To Differ On Proposed Bylaw Changes

July 23, 2013 - 04:50 PM ET

By Holly Leber

The candidates in the Global Business Travel Association's only contested 2013 election appear to be split on the association's most controversial issue of the year.

Altour senior vice president of sales Doug Payne and Concur senior director of marketing Christopher Juneau are vying for the one open GBTA Allied (supplier) member-at-large board of directors seat, to be voted on by Allied members. Payne is running for re-election. They have landed on opposite sides of proposals to alter GBTA's bylaws, notably addressing how the association's board of directors should be derived. Direct (buyer) members will vote on the proposals during GBTA's annual convention, to be held next month in San Diego.

Payne in his platform statement indicated that he supports the proposal favored by GBTA's board of directors, which would bring the number of board members to 14 (from 13), including seven Direct members (down from nine) and seven Allied members (up from four). That proposal, titled Proposal A on the ballot, also stipulates that the association's president always would be a Direct member while the vice president always would be an Allied member.

Adoption of Proposal A "will ensure that our association remains a buyer-lead association with a greater voice on the board for our Allied members," Payne wrote. "It will preserve the Allied Leadership Council (ALC), whose leader will become the elected vice president of the association. The ALC has been the key source of our funding and innovation over the past 35 years and is the only council within GBTA that truly represents the interests of all Allied members, having representation from each Allied member industry silo."

Proposal A also would create additional steps for proposed bylaw changes. Currently, a vote by two-thirds of Direct members can amend bylaws. Under the current board's proposal, bylaw changes would need approval from three-fourths of a quorum of the board, and two-thirds each of Allied and Direct members.

Juneau in his platform statement did not directly address the proposed bylaw changes, but on a LinkedIn group wrote that he supports the changes proposed by NetApp travel manager Mark Ziegler. That proposal, titled Proposal B, seeks to adjust the bylaws by requiring that all four Allied board seats be filled via elections and that the association disband the Allied Leadership Council. Doing away with the ALC would, in turn, eliminate the practice of automatically seating its appointed president and vice president to GBTA's board.

However, Juneau appears to have posted the LinkedIn comment about three weeks before GBTA on June 24 unveiled the board-supported Proposal A. When contacted by BTN, Juneau indicated in an email that he would "pass" on making any statements, citing GBTA policy that Allied candidates running in association elections are prohibited from speaking with the press. Payne did not return calls seeking comment.

A third option on the ballot allows members to vote for no changes to the board's current makeup.

Other elections to be held during the convention will not be contested. Dominion's Donna Kelliher is running unopposed for GBTA president and CEO while Johnson Downie director of business services Christle Johnson is running for the vice president position. St. Jude Medical global travel director Denise Truso and Oracle global travel global process owner Rita Visser are the only two candidates running for the two Direct member-at-large board seats to be filled this year.

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