AGM fiasco has hurt West Indies brand: CEO
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (CMC):
Cricket West Indies chief executive, Johnny Grave, says last Sunday’s contentious events which forced the postponement of the Annual General Meeting, has threatened to derail much of the significant progress made in repairing the West Indies cricket brand in recent years.
In the wake of the fiasco, Grave said CWI had been forced to reach out to the governing body’s commercial partners and other stakeholders to reassure them about the stability of West Indies cricket.
And the Englishman stressed it was critical the postponed AGM scheduled for April 11 came off as planned so as to prevent any further fallout and damage to the West Indies cricket brand.
“I think very clearly the reputation of this organisation in the eyes of the world is massively important to the brand of West Indies cricket,” Grave said.
“And I think we’ve made enormous progress over the last few years to repair that brand, not just globally but within the region – to fans in the way that we’ve not really had any shocks and news on the field and certainly less so off it of late.
“But the recent events have definitely damaged the brand and I and the rest of the executive have spent … hours speaking to sponsors, broadcasters and re-assuring our stakeholders that the AGM will go forward on the 11th and we really hope it does because all of this affects us.”
He added: “In this case, it is extremely disappointing from where I sit because I think as the chief executive of Cricket West Indies, our accounts have never been in a better state.”
The Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) and the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) both snubbed last Sunday’s virtual meeting, leaving the meeting short of a nine-member quorum and forcing its postponement.
More significantly, the postponement stalled the presidential elections which were expected to pit the GCB’s Anand Sanasie against incumbent president Ricky Skerritt and the BCA’s Calvin Hope against CWI vice-president Dr Kishore Shallow.
Both Sanasie and Hope subsequently announced they were dropping their bid for the CWI leadership.
The BCA and GCB contended that CWI had not provided the audited financial statements the stipulated 14 days in advance, therefore not giving them enough time to peruse them and thus causing their representatives to skip the AGM.
But Grave said territorial boards had been sent the audited statements 14 days before the AGM as required. The consolidated financial statements, however, which were only required because of the recent acquisition of Coolidge Cricket Ground, had been issued to shareholders on March 26.
Grave also stressed that the consolidated statements had also been a late request from the auditors.
“This is the first time in our history we’ve had consolidated financial statements and that’s because we now own Coolidge Cricket Ground Inc, a subsidiary company,” Grave told Starcom Radio’s Mason and Guest cricket show.
“Other than the rental income from the Antigua Athletics Club and some car park rent, all the costs of running that cricket ground are already in the CWI accounts, so the substantial difference between our financial statements and those consolidated with CCB are extremely minor.
“That’s why the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee and the Finance Committee approved the audited statements on Tuesday, March 9, that’s why the Board of Directors approved them on March 11 subject to those consolidated audited statements.”
Grave said with the two-week postponement of the AGM, he hoped it would now provide enough time for the BCA and GCB to look over the consolidated statements, so a quorum could be had and the meeting proceed as scheduled.
“Why shareholders would take any action that damages the brand of their company and damages that reputation is unfathomable to me … but I continue to be surprised and shocked by some of the actions,” Grave pointed out.
“I very much hope, maybe naively, that the 11th will happen. Barbados said clearly that they wanted longer to look at the consolidated statements so they now would’ve had four weeks to look at the CWI accounts and two further weeks to look at the CCG accounts.
“I would like to think that on that basis the BCA would attend.”