The change is dictated by the rapidly changing nature of the industry, said NPA executive director and CEO Daniel Fabricant, PhD. The old structure, a legacy of the organization’s more than 30-year history, was unsuited to the current landscape, he said.
“The board was at that big size for some time. But the realities are that politics is moving so fast, and the industry is changing so fast that we needed a structure to be more responsive to that,” Fabricant told NutraIngredients-USA.“It’s easier to get a quorum with nine people than with 22.”
Executive committee eliminated
The existing structure included a smaller executive committee that handled much of NPA’s day-to-day business. One criticism from members has been that this small group had been taking many important decisions on its own without much input from the wider membership, something that Fabricant said had become necessary under the previous unwieldy structure. The new board set up will eliminate the need for the committee, Fabricant said.
The new board will be selected in an election this spring. Fabricant said it was a tribute to the existing board that it agreed to the change even though it means many of those people will lose an immediate say in the organization’s affairs.
“It’s a tribute to those people that they basically voted themselves out of office,” Fabricant said. “The new board will have three year terms as opposed to two, so you have time to actually get something done. It’s tough to serve on a volunteer board, and we want people who take their fiduciary responsibilities seriously. Sometimes people take things very personally, but in effect you are taking an oath to put the interests of the organization first, maybe even above the interests of your own company.”
Expanded membership categories
Another bylaw change will expand the definition of who might be a member of the association. NPA has a history of representing small brick and mortar retailers and that won’t change, Fabricant said. But the time has come to try to include more sectors of the industry, from big chains to online sellers. In the case of online sales in particular, Fabricant said there is a need to reach out to these companies. There is a story line within the dietary supplement business that there are really two industries, those companies that are members of trade associations and are advocating for best practices, and other companies primarily concerned with easy and low cost access to markets. Trying to change more of latter into the former is a priority for the future, Fabricant said.
“Those people already benefit from our work, so why aren’t they at the table? Those dialogues should be taking place,” he said.