Post by Ray Poynter, 3 December 2020
Council Meeting Summary
Virtual (Microsoft Teams)
Meeting of ESOMAR Council 30 November
Members: President Joaquim Bretcha, Alain Mizrahi, Kristin Luck, Nikki Lavoie, Lucy Davison, Anne-Sophie Damelincourt, Umesh Kumar and me.
Officers: Finn Raben (Director General) and Marie-Agnès Mourot de Lathyle (Chief Finance and Operating Officer).
Niels Schillewaert, BV Pradeep, and Nijat Mammadbayli
Adjusting to the new virtual paradigm, ESOMAR Council is meeting more frequently, but for a shorter amount of time, and with a more focused agenda. We have lost the inconvenience of travel, but we have added early starts and late finish times for some members of Council because of time differences.
In many ways this is a strange meeting inasmuch as this should have been the handover meeting where the outgoing Council met the newly elected Council as a method of passing on information and ensuring both new blood and continuity. However, because of COVID the current Council have been asked to serve a little longer, and the elections have been deferred – see blow.
Notes from the last meeting
The discussions about the Value Proposition Working group were noted.
An EGM (Extraordinary General Meeting) was held in July, to review the possibility of delaying our elections because of the pandemic. The motion, passed by 94% in favour, was:
“the Council elections for the 2021/2022 term, usually scheduled for October of this year, be postponed to Q1 of 2021 to allow potential candidates additional time for..
i) their businesses to normalise in the context of the pandemic,
ii) aligning their business priorities with the requirements of Council, and…
iii) providing sufficient time for candidates to prepare appropriate voting statements and policies.
Further, that the current Council advise the membership no later than January 31, 2021 of the revised election timing – which, only in the exceptional case of a second COVID-19 pandemic wave, may be requested to be delayed for a further period up to a maximum of one year. In such circumstances, the elections must take place by September 2021″.
Following a lengthy discussion on this topic, Council voted in favour of holding the elections in Q1, and for all relevant communication to be issued to all of our members (ideally) before the Christmas break. Candidates will have a chance to register their interest before Christmas, and we anticipate holding the elections in March 2021 – keep an eye out for the official communication!
Budget and Business Plan 2021
Finn and Marie-Agnes reported on budget, revenue savings and the business plan going forward. Other than the money, these are dealt with by the management, the Council is not an Executive body.
Current circumstances – forecasted to last for a couple of years – have meant that ESOMAR expects its revenue to be significantly lower than the norm; sadly, a smaller business needs to have smaller costs, and so all costs now have to be reviewed, including personnel costs.
The key things ESOMAR will be delivering in 2021 are:
- Extended Membership services, including knowledge, advocacy, networking and business opportunities.
- Events, leveraging digital to create new options, embracing high quality formal material through to informal events such as the community circles.
- Enhancing the value of the directory, to both advertisers and users.
- ResearchWorld has been growing in influence, in 2020 we reached 175K people, up from 114K – this will be developed further to extend the value that is delivered, and the revenue that can be generated.
- Continued Government Affairs and Professional Standards – the unseen work that advocates hugely for our sector – lobbying regulators to ensure laws and rules are not harmful to ethical data processing, analytics and insights; along with creating, publishing and promoting standards.