The board of the Book Industry Study Group approved a significant set of changes to their by-laws that, when ratified at their members meeting on September 25, will reshape how the group is governed. The BISG intends to reduce the current oversized board of 33 members down to a more traditional group of 14 directors. They will also limit board members to a maximum of two consecutive two-year terms (except for the chair), after which they must rotate off for at least one year.
The new board slots will be allocated specifically among distinct industry sectors, with 5 positions for publishers (including two from from trade, and one professional/education publisher), 3 for industry service partners, 2 for distributors 2 for retailers, 1 for libraries, and 1 for suppliers/manufacturers. All committee chairs will be invited to attend the quarterly board meetings as non-voting attendees, however. Current board chair Maureen McMahon at Kaplan notes in the announcement, “By creating segment-specific roles with the board, we will always have the right voices in the room as we tackle industry issues.”
The new governance efforts, formulated by an ad hoc board committee chaired by Kelly Gallagher at Ingram, have also for the first time formally documented the responsibilities and expectations of board members. He notes, “A carefully structured, smaller governing body can develop the culture of clarity, governance, and data-driven decision making that is required to both set and refine strategic direction in a transforming market.”
The organization plans to create an Association Advisory Council, for which “all book publishing associations will be invited to join, contribute their perspectives, and share current concerns.”
BISG also intends to move their annual meeting from September to April going forward — which means they will open for nominations for 9 new board members in January, and vote on those positions at the April 2018 meeting.