Following the April Council meeting on Saturday the following Directors have tendered their resignation effect 31 May 2008: Martin Regan (Chief Executive), Peter Sowray (International), Claire Summerscale (Junior Chess & Education; Women’s Chess) and Mike Truran (Non-Executive Director).
Here is a letter from Mr. Martin Regan explaining the problems, which are similar to the problems we face in the USCF.
LETTER FROM MARTIN REGAN
From: Martin Regan
Subject: ECF CEO statement
Dear Chess Colleagues,
Yesterday I along with Peter Sowray, the director of international chess, Claire Summerscale, the director of international chess, and non-executive director Mike Truran resigned our positions within the English Chess Federation, although we will stay on, if required, until the end of May to ensure a smooth handover for our successors.
The decision has been immensely difficult. Since the new board took control in a contested election in 2006, it has made substantial progress in improving both the profile and activity of the ECF. It has made mistakes along the way, but generally, I hope you will agree, it has been a board which had the interests of English chess at heart.
However, in order for English Chess to achieve that of which it is capable, more fundamental changes are needed. This is what the board was elected to deliver.
We were under no illusion about the hurdles that would need to be overcome, nor were we even sure that the Federation itself would wish to embark on major change.
However, it was clear from the first that in order to progress this agenda two fundamental conditions were required: A unified board and a Council wishing to hear the debate with an open mind.
I regret to say that neither condition could be met, despite my best efforts.
At Finance Council it became depressingly clear that a minority – and I do stress the word minority – had little intention of grasping the opportunity for debate. Unfortunately, voices within the ECF which speak loud and often have a disproportionate influence.
At the same time, over the past year, it has become clear that not all the members of the board wished to support the type of changes that the large majority of the board believed were essential, indeed were implacably opposed to them . That is their right,of course, but seeking to persuade the Federation about the need for change with the background opposition of key figures is impossible. I am not a magician.
It is an huge privilege to be a director of the ECF and to serve a Council which on the whole, in my view, tries its best. But with this privilege comes the responsibility to leave the Federation in a better position than when one took office. This needs to be recognised more. And as your CEO, as I could no longer guarantee this, I felt the only honorable course was to resign.
In saying this, I make absolutely no criticism of those directors who have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with me but have, for the present, decided to remain in post. I thank them for their support. As I say, this has been a period of soul-searching for us all.
In the case of Claire, Peter and Mike, the ECF has lost three of the hardest working and most effective officers it has had for many, many years. I am proud to have worked alongside them. As indeed I have been proud to work with many ECF delegates and officers.
I should like to thank all those who have helped the board during the past 18 months, and those hundreds of volunteer organisors, members and players whose voices are rarely heard, but without whom there would be no Federation.
Thank you all
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