Institute of Travel and Tourism chairman Steven Freudmann has branded news of a challenge to his position as a “storm in a tea cup” based on politics rather than policy issues.
The new chairman will be decided at the Annual General Meeting on August 4, when members will be asked to nominate and second a new chairman. Board member Lawrence Assock has said he will stand if no-one else does.
If Freudmann is challenged, it will be the first time in seven years.
Freudmann has held the chairman position unopposed for seven years and also holds the paid-for chief executive role, a role he was offered after he had been chairman for some time. He was recently re-elected to the board as the travel agency representative, winning 70% of votes cast.
He admitted he found news of a potential challenge to his position as chairman as “bizarre” and believes it to be rooted in ‘political’ issues unrelated to ITT, rather than on the basis of differences of opinion on ITT policy.
He said: “The important thing is what is happening at the ITT; are we doing things right or wrong in terms of policy? But it has never been mentioned at our board meetings.
“The ITT has made profit for the last seven years and every event is sold-out. For a member of the board to suddenly suggest that there are issues, I find bizarre. The fact it’s never been discussed is frustrating.”
He conceded it was unusual for a board director to hold both the chairman and chief executive positions but said it had been one of his early recommendations on taking the latter role to ease confusion and because of the small size of the organisation.
He added: “I am not unduly worried about it. If they want someone else to do the chairman’s job, I will get on with my job as chief executive. If the board wants to work out a role for chairman just to chair meetings, I am happy to stand aside.”