The entire board of the National Beef Association has stepped down following long-running disputes and in-fighting over the board’s treasurer.

NBA chief executive Kim-Marie Haywood (pictured left) said the board members “did the honourable thing” by resigning their posts at the association’s AGM on Thursday (20 October).

She said there were a number of issues which could not be resolved and the best thing for everyone involved was for the board to stand down.

“Sometimes a committee comes together and it just doesn’t click. It’s the wrong skills and personalities and that’s what had happened here.

“The divisions were too great that they couldn’t act as a united team.”

The announcement follows months of arguments within the board, which included an attempt by former NBA chairman Chrsitopher-Thomas Everard to force the departure of the association’s treasurer last month.

In an email sent to association members ahead of the AGM, members were asked to support two resolutions to “demand the removal of James Fanshawe as co-opted Director and Treasurer”.

The email claimed Mr Fanshawe insisted on deciding where the money raised from the September 2010 South West Beef Event would be spent when the organisers had wanted funds to be spent on dealing with bovine TB.

There were also complaints about his administration of NBA finances, including “delays” in staging the 2010 and 2011 AGMs and publishing NBA accounts.

However, at the time the NBA backed Mr Fanshawe and said the issue would be dealt with “in a professional manner” at the AGM.

Miss Haywood said the NBA had now appointed a four-man review committee to look at new ways for the association to be run.

She said one option could include completely removing a farmer-member board – something she described as a “disaster zone” and its management like “working in Afghanistan”.

“We have given them four months to strip the association down to basics,” she said.

“The structure we have in pace at the moment is archaic and not appropriate now the NBA has grown to be a powerful organisation.

“The review committee will come up with a new proposal for a governance structure which they will put forward to the members and consult on. When we have agreed it we can go forward.

“I wouldn’t have a board of farmers – it’s a disaster zone. People shouldn’t be put in a position of power without the skills and the responsibility to manage that.

“I hope people of the review panel have enough sense to break with the norm. The old structure is broken and we need to start afresh.”

Despite the turmoil, Miss Haywood insisted the future of the NBA was still strong.

“All companies and organisations go through it,” she said. “We have seen our fair share of difficulties but the NBA members are the best in the game.”

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