Business Council changes governance; major companies return

Business Council changes governance; major companies return

By TODD STACY, Alabama Daily News

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Business Council of Alabama (BCA) on Wednesday moved to change its governance structure and welcomed back major corporations that had recently departed the organization over disagreements with its direction and leadership.

In June, a string of major corporations including Alabama Power, Regions Bank, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield withdrew their memberships from BCA citing concerns with the group’s effectiveness. Longtime President and CEO Billy Canary resigned last month after taking a senior fellowship position with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The new governance plan approved by BCA’s board of directors changes the group’s executive committee to include five representatives of large corporations, five representatives of smaller corporations, and one trustee from the Alabama Self-Insured Worker’s Compensation Fund.

The BCA board of directors today voted to approve the plan and named a new executive committee that includes representatives of the recently-departed companies. Those companies, including Alabama Power, have now rejoined the Business Council, according to the group’s press release.

“The wholesale governance and leadership changes made today show what is possible when businesses come together with a common goal,” Alabama Power CEO Mark Crosswhite said in a BCA news release.

“While the hard work of moving this organization forward remains, I am pleased with this progress and look forward to working with businesses across our state for a stronger BCA and a better Alabama.”

BCA is one of Alabama’s most influential political organizations, pooling resources from the state’s business community to support its endorsed candidates for office and lobby the Alabama Legislature for business-friendly policies. While the organization succeeded externally with key election wins in the state’s primary elections, BCA endured a difficult summer internally amid the departure of several major corporations, which threatened the group’s status going forward.

Those companies are now back within the fold and some have seats on the BCA board’s executive committee.

Carl Jamison, former chairman of BCA and current executive committee member, said the new governance structure would build on the group’s “finest traditions and take the organization to a whole new level.”

“This structure ensures that BCA’s governance structure will be focused on those core issues that are critical to businesses of every variety and size,” Jamison said.

According to a BCA news release, the new executive committee elected today includes:

  • Rey Almodovar, CEO, Intuitive Research and Technology
  • Mark Crosswhite, CEO, Alabama Power Co.
  • Perry Hand, Chairman, Volkert Inc.
  • Denson Henry, Owner/Vice President, Henry Brick Co.
  • Carl Jamison, Shareholder, JamisonMoneyFarmer PC
  • Johnny Johns, Executive Chairman, Protective Life Corp.
  • John Mazyck, Principal, The Frazer Lanier Co.
  • Gary Smith, CEO, PowerSouth Energy Cooperative
  • John Turner, CEO, Regions Bank
  • Bobby Vaughan, Chairman of the Board, Alabama Self-Insured Worker’s Compensation Fund
  • Tim Vines, CEO, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama

Other leaders elected to the BCA board of directors today include representatives of Drummond Co. Inc., Kemp Management Solutions, Maynard Cooper & Gale, Parker Towing Co. and Progress Rail – all companies that withdrew their BCA memberships in June.

“At the end of the day, our members are our customers,” said Bobby Vaughan with the Alabama Self-Insured Worker’s Compensation Fund.

“Our job is to serve the interests of our members, and the new structure will enable us to do that more effectively.”

Heather Brothers New, chairwoman of the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama, said BCA’s governance change will benefit local chambers as well.

“We are fortunate in Alabama to have a business community that understands the importance of providing strong leadership on matters that affect our state’s economic success,” New said.

“Individuals, families and communities can’t thrive if our state doesn’t provide an environment where businesses can thrive. Everyone in Alabama benefits from this effort to ensure a unified and effective BCA.”

Gov. Kay Ivey recently alluded to BCA’s transition during her speech at the group’s governmental affairs conference in Point Clear.

“Let our experience as a state serve as a reminder to all of you at BCA, that in a time of transition, you are given an opportunity,” Ivey said. “When you are given the chance to start anew, choose to make the very most out of it.”

Mark Colson currently serves as BCA’s Interim CEO as a search for Canary’s permanent replacement goes forward.

At BCA, Ivey speaks on transition, opportunity