At the COLIBI meeting of a fortnight ago item three on the agenda was a vote of no confidence against the president. Many trade figures have been incensed at the way Brian Montgomery has carried out his dual role ie president of an importers and manufacturers assocation, and long-time chairman of a manufacturers association.
The two roles were bound to conflict, was a widely felt consensus, say Montgomerys detractors, and they point to the recent anti-dumping fiasco where EBMA was forced to back down and withdraw its linked complaint against both China and Taiwan.
At the COLIBI meeting voices were never raised in anger but there were a lot of underlying tensions despite all the bonhomie. On a technicality, Brian Montgomery would not allow a vote of no confidence to take place. However, instead of stalling his detractors they dug their heels in and no further business was undertaken that day.
A postal ballot to vote on the no confidence motion was proposed. Whether Montgomery would have survived such a postal ballot is now a moot point because last Friday he fell on his sword.
His press release has further incensed his detractors because it blames importers for the contretemps and does not recognise that it was the linking of Taiwan and China that was at the heart of the problem.
Brian Montgomerys press release written as a letter of resignation can be found below...
My many years of COLIBI membership have covered big changes in the European and world bicycle industry and also in COLIBI itself. The original COLIBI grouping was strong in bicycle manufacturing influence for the preservation of their industry and for the expansion of the cycling ideal.
I have spent a great deal of time in promoting the COLIBI vision for the future: first as a member of the Committee, then Vice-President and finally as President. During the last several years I have been the Chairman of EBMA and, of course, I was in that capacity when Vice-President and when elected to the COLIBI presidency.
Today there is a strong division of opinion within COLIBI both for and against the fact that the COLIBI President is also the Chairman of EBMA. The attitude of certain members who do not agree with the dual presidencies is, in essence, a position against the EBMA role in monitoring imports and taking action when appropiate. This is a relatively new phenomenon and reflects the growing influence of importers in the membership.
Division is not good for an organisation that needs to concentrate its energies, nor is the playing of orchestrated, brinkmanship politics. The first point in the COLIBI Mission Statement is to expand the use and consumption of bicycles a sentiment which I strongly support.
To be sidetracked by disagreement to be supported but to remain sorely divided is not a positive situation. I am not in the habit of stepping back from a set-to but with this present divide, which is soleley over the dual roles, I think that it is a good pragmatic decision for European bicycle industry cohesion for me to stand down now from the COLIBI presidency while continuing to be fully loyal to the COLIBI ideals.