Netherlands: Escalation in KNCB governance dispute

Tensions leading up to the KNCB general meeting on 14 April rose last week, when club chairmen learned that a shareholders’ meeting of Cricket Nederland BV was about to be asked to appoint outgoing Bond chair Betty Timmer as CEO.

The proposal to separate the roles of CEO of the KNCB and the BV, the limited liability company which was set up in 2019 to manage the Netherlands’ home events, is due to be discussed in the spring general meeting of the KNCB next Wednesday, and the chairmen were not impressed by what appeared to be an attempt to pre-empt what is likely to be a lively discussion.

So incensed were they that they immediately fired off a letter of protest to the KNCB Board and CEO Milena van Not, urging that no action be taken until after full discussion of the proposals regarding the future relationship between the KNCB (the sole shareholder) and the BV.

The formal position at present is that the CEO of the KNCB is ex officio CEO of the BV, but this would change if the Board’s proposals based on the recommendations of its working party on Governance were to be adopted.

The Board and the BV’s Supervisory Council (Raad van Commissarissen) seem to have somewhat rashly assumed that this would happen, causing the club chairmen to speak of a breach in what should be ‘an open and transparent process’ and of the need for a restoration of trust between the clubs and the Board.

One option, they wrote, would be to defer the whole discussion of the working party’s report to a future general meeting, by which time the putative new chairman, Jurgen Delfoss, would be in charge, and that in the meantime Ms. van Not would continue as the BV’s CEO.

Rod Lyall spoke with Nick Skinner to discuss this in EC Deep Point.

In view of this clear indication of resistance to its proposed appointment, the shareholders’ meeting agreed to defer its decision pending further consultation.
KNCB secretary Robert Vermeulen stressed on Saturday that both the Board’s proposed structural changes and the club chairmen’s protest rested upon procedural grounds.

‘We are convinced that our proposals offer the best structure for the future,’ he said, ‘and the Board’s preference for two CEOs is based upon structural arguments, not personal ones.

‘We believe that the discussion should stay clear of the personal issues, and focus upon procedures.’

Vermeulen was due to respond to the chairmen’s letter on behalf of the Board, but whether his reply will take the heat out of the situation remains to be seen.

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