BMA board votes to oust executive director

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Chicago—The board of directors of the Business Marketing Association has voted to remove Executive Director Rick Kean, who has served in that position for more than 10 years, according to sources familiar with the situation.

In a hastily arranged conference call Nov. 29, BMA members voted 9-3 to remove Kean from office. Kean was not on the call.

Gary Slack, chairman and chief experience officer of advertising agency Slack Barshinger, resigned from his position on the board of the national BMA and the BMA executive committee to protest the ouster. He was on the call and voted against firing Kean.

In his letter of resignation to the BMA, obtained by BtoB, Slack wrote, “I am extraordinarily uncomfortable with the ‘kangaroo court’ atmosphere of yesterday’s board call, which was scheduled with just 24 hours notice and with no indication given—at least to me—of the very serious matter to be discussed.

“Within 30 minutes and with no opportunity afforded Rick Kean to respond to the issues and/or offer up solutions, we disposed of an executive director who has provided distinguished leadership and service to our association for more than 10 years and to our profession for his entire career,” Slack wrote.

Kean and Kirby Strickland, BMA chairman, did not respond to phone calls by deadline. Sources said Kean will stay in his position until February to handle the BMA ProComm Awards.

—Kate Maddox

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