Sirk sacking and CRM costs will lead to ICCA loss of €354 000

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Martin Sirk Martin Sirk

The sacking of CEO Martin Sirk and the spiralling costs of a new CRM system will lead to a trading loss of €354,000 in 2019 for the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA), if their budget forecast is accurate.

The figures were revealed at ICCA’s annual meeting in Dubai this week but the losses will be covered by reserves rather than increases in membership fees, which were held at inflation rates in The Netherlands, home to ICCA HQ. The association is projecting a deficit of EUR -138,000 for 2018, in line with budget.

The budget report said: “With a solid financial reserve of over €1 million, the ICCA board is convinced that the organisation could bear the projected deficit of EUR -354,122."

Many delegates were surprised by the directness and transparency of the presentation by outgoing president Nina Pretorius regarding the sacking of their ceo. It was an open secret that Sirk’s relationship with Pretorius had always been fractious.

She told the gathering of 1100-plus delegates: “We would like to acknowledge and thank the contribution of Martin Sirk during his years. But as our association has grown, it has forced us to ask the question: where will be in the next 10 years and is the CEO the right person to implement the strategy? The board unanimously voted against. This is not a decision that happened overnight but the outcome of the concerns the board had over a long period.”

Pretorius said the proper checks and balances had been employed but that Dutch Law and his contract required that Sirk was paid 12 months’ notice plus 12 months’ severance pay. She added that Sirk will be paid until August 2019 when he will receive a lump sum severance payment. She said: “In future CEOs will be hired on a term contract basis. Recruitment applications will be received until January 2019 before interviews will take place”. She added that it was: “The best decision for the future of ICCA.”

She said the transition and handover period was planned “as amicably as possible” but Sirk opted to leave the organisation in July leaving the ship without steerage. Pretorius said: “We owe our gratitude to Dennis Speet for having agreed to step in.”

Dennis Speet said: “Martin had taken us to the next level for 16 years and I think we owe him a vote of thanks and big round of applause.” He added after Sirk’s Ovation: “One day I am pressing a button to move a new slide to a presentation and the next I am the new interim CEO!”

At the same session it was announced that the 2021 annual congress will be held in Cartgena De Indias  in Colombia.

James Lancaster
Written By
James Lancaster

AMI editor James Lancaster is a familiar face in the meetings industry and international association community. Since joining AMI in 2010, he has gained a reputation for asking difficult questions and getting lost in convention centres. Proofer, podcaster, and panellist - in his spare time, James likes to walk, read, listen to music, and drink beer.

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