Can I recommend two excellent letters to the AFR today (published in their online edition).
This is from two senior members who have hit on the critical issue of governance and the changes that need to occur at CPA Australia. Lets hope they are not intimidated and threatened for speaking out.
Good on them for doing so.
OPINION Jun 8 2017 at 4:04 PM
The Australian Financial Review
Letters to the Editor
Call for an independent legal review of CPA governance
As a fellow of CPA Australia and a former member of its representative council, like other long-standing CPAs, I am extremely concerned about the serious matters involving the governance of CPA Australia, which have received considerable media attention in recent months.
The latest in the series of Australian Financial Review front-page articles, "CPA exodus continues as Alston quits riven board", troubles me greatly because of the potential for damage to the status of the CPA professional designation and the reputation of CPAs generally. The early resignations of the former president and the two independent directors do little to dispel the public perceptions of the Greek tragedy being played out on the public media stage, which now potentially threatens to engulf the entire organisation and its members.
It has become demonstrably clear there are now reasonable grounds for CPA Australia members to call for an independent legal review of the CPA Australia constitution, the associated governance arrangements and issues arising therefrom as a matter of urgency. A starting point would be to give serious consideration to changing the present model for making CPA Australia board appointments, to one where directors are elected only by a direct vote of all full CPA members, and to restrict board membership tenure to shorter periods than at present.
Turning a blind eye to the current impasse risks inflicting further damage to the professional and public standing of the organisation and its members.
CPA in a class capture of their own
As a full CPA Australia member, accounting academic and public practitioner of long standing, I am appalled at the current state of corporate governance that is tearing the CPA Australia organisation apart. One only needs to clarify the statement explaining why members can no longer vote directly for the board of directors.
"The 2006 governance review also considered direct election of directors by members, but highlighted the risks of "factional-based decision-making".
That is, the democratic right of members to directly elect the directors was removed just in case the members elected a group of directors the current directors didn't approve of!
Theoretically, this is referred to as "class capture". In this case, the sitting directors and management have captured the decision making through a filtering structure that guarantees their own hegemony. A hegemony that not only gives the chief executive $1.8million a year and other directors and managers huge pay rises, but also corporate privileges at the basketball and tennis, international self-promotion billboards and a weekly TV show.
All funded by hard earned membership dues and, it appears, a revolving door of "associate members". It's time for this to stop. Return the board to the members and re-set the management before CPA Australia disappears into itself.
Ian Fargher, CPA
North Wollongong, NSW