Docstoc

President's speech

Document Sample
President's speech Powered By Docstoc
					ICA International Trade Event 2010

President’s speech

Wow! Where did the year go? It does not seem like 12 months ago that I was standing here
reading out the names of our guests but now here I am making the Presidents’ speech and I
suppose, based on one of the traditions for this event, most people are trying to guess how long
I am going to speak for! As our theme suggests we have been going global with the ICA in 2010
and while everyone talks about globalization, the environment, global warming, new technology
etc, etc however I have not heard anyone talk about the world spinning faster (no pun intended)!
It has been fast but what a year it has been! Hectic, interesting and challenging, are just some of
the words I could use to describe my term as President but I will go into that detail later.

Ever since I entered the cotton business as a 16 year old trainee the LCA/ICA was a mystical
part of the cotton industry, the epitome of the industry, something that is at the very heart of the
business. I had always dreamt, had an ambition, to one day be President of this respected
Association, and here I am. I am a strong believer in fate and the fact that I became President in
a year when I celebrated my 50th birthday, my silver wedding anniversary and the 18th and 21st
birthdays of my sons has only served to reinforce that belief, particularly when I was not
supposed to be President this year. Fate determined that it happened, and now when I review
my cotton career I realize that there have been many moments in my life when fate has
intervened, of course this is true for my private life but that is not for this evening!

From the moment I had my first job interview in 1976 with the then Ralli Bros and Coney, now
Cargill Cotton, my professional fate was tied to the cotton industry. Indeed I would not have even
joined the cotton industry had it not been for a cotton character called Fred Rimmer. Having just
finished an interview with Colin Bernhardt, who had told me all about the wonderful opportunities
in the industry that would befall me if I joined, I was leaving the building feeling very sceptical
when I bumped into the father of my brother’s best friend. I did not know Mr Rimmer worked at
Ralli but on his comment that what I was told would come true I decided to take the plunge and
join the cotton industry. Major fate intervention number 1.

The next major time that fate intervened, at least that I really recall, was after I had moved to
Hong Kong. Now Hong Kong for those of you lucky to have lived there is a great place and in
1987 we were having an enjoyable life getting integrated to the expat community when I was
suddenly asked to move to Brisbane, Australia. Now Brisbane at that time was a sleepy country
town, not the cosmopolitan city that it is today and after a 10 day visit I had decided that it was
not somewhere I wanted to live. Blinded by the life rather than career I had I decided to look for
alternatives so that I could stay in Hong Kong. Having secured the offer of a position in stock-
broking I was torn between Hong Kong and a new job and the cotton industry in Australia.
Needless to say I moved to Brisbane in August 1987 and then in October 1987 saw the stock
market crash, I wonder where I would be if I had left the cotton industry? Australia – oh Australia.
Having moved to somewhere we didn’t want to go to the place really grew on us and it wasn’t
long before we knew we had made one of the best decisions in our life and Brisbane, Australia

                                                                                                1 of 5
became our adopted home. In 1991 and with some help from Bob Dall’alba and Richard Haire I
left Cargill and joined Queensland Cotton, Jackie and I became Australian citizens and had our
two sons in the land “Down Under” The cotton industry in Australia was rapidly expanding and
from a small publicly listed cotton company we managed to expand into the USA and Brazilian
markets, we were taking our business global, a fitting direction and the theme for this gathering.
That global direction was to see our family move to the USA as a 7 year drought in Australia
reduced the cotton industry there to a shadow of what it was in 2001 however fate was once
again destined to play a role as two companies vied to acquire Queensland Cotton. As it turned
out Olam bought Queensland Cotton and I moved to Dallas to assume the leadership of our
Americas business. The past three years have been a tremendous challenge, both personally
and professionally however I can stand here today among friends, colleagues and peers and
say that it has all been worthwhile. Thank you.

Cotton has given me a great life and career. I have been fortunate to travel the world, meet so
many interesting and wonderful people, visit places most people can only imagine and become
a truly “global” cotton person. Yes I am originally from this great city, with its historic ties to the
cotton industry but I am also a truly “international’ President of this illustrious Association, hence
the three flags that you see represented here and the two national anthems being played this
evening.

In recent years the ICA has been pursuing a course of internationalization and during 2010 we
have certainly continued with this direction, strengthening ties in Europe, the Americas, the
Middle East and Asia. That direction comes from our Board and as we know this is the most
internationally represented Board the Association has ever had and I believe that this facet will
help us reinforce the position of being unquestionably the leading arbitral authority in the global
cotton industry. Nevertheless with this increasingly international Board representation it is
incumbent upon us to use this situation to further develop relationships with the many bodies
now engaged with the ICA. We have had a long standing relationship with the American Cotton
Shippers Association and in addition we are now also developing new relationships with the
representatives from Turkey, Bangladesh and Pakistan while increasing our focus on Asia with
Board members from Hong Kong and Japan. Our Asia focus was increasingly evident when we
signed an MOU with the China Cotton Association during their conference in Sanya and we are
very encouraged by the developing dialogue between the two associations.

With the development of these new relationships comes an appreciation that we must make
some changes both to our Association and potentially some of the rules that we operate under.
A new membership structure will be in place for next year but it is perhaps the potential changes
to our bylaws and rules that may have the biggest impact in terms of spinners’ interest and thus
involvement with the ICA. Another area that constantly demands attention is the arbitration
process and most noticeably its cost and length of time. Change is definitely required.

Now a certain “other” President spoke about change as he was elected and came into office and
while I certainly did not have the challenges he has had, introducing change to the ICA has also
been something that has taken a lot of time and effort. Frustration over the pace of change and


                                                                                                   2 of 5
the lack of action in a number of areas has made this position a real challenge, but I am pleased
to say that we have achieved a lot during 2010. Change is always difficult particularly when you
have an Association that is influenced by so much tradition and over 160 years of history and at
some points it does feel as though the weight of that tradition will hold you back. Change is
always resisted and people will always say “if it isn’t broken why fix it?” and my response will
always be that things can be improved. And that is what we have tried to do. We still have plenty
of work to do but the commitment I see from numerous people convinces me that we are
definitely on the right path.

We will improve transparency in the arbitration process and we are well on the way to changes
that will make this the situation a reality. However it is disappointing to note that certain people
want to try and obstruct such a move. Rather than work with the ICA to achieve change, some
have actually sought legal advice to delay it. I cannot understand why this would be the case
and while it may slow down the process it will not stop change. We will continue to improve on
the transparency of the ICA and its arbitration process.

Another significant and major change that will occur next year is the Presidents term of office. It
has been agreed that the term of office will change from the historical December to December to
a far more appropriate change over at the Annual dinner. This will facilitate a far greater member
involvement at an important time each year for the Association.

A common criticism of spinners is that the ICA Bylaws and Rules favour the merchant and while
I strongly believe it is wrong to say that the Bylaws and Rules favour one party over another
there are changes that need to be made to bring our rules up to best business practice. As I said
previously things can always be improved and in this area I can advise that the Board is
currently working on a possible rule to reflect carry and delayed shipment charges. At the same
time we are also working on a process to address small claims and thus alleviate the current
requirement to proceed to a full blown arbitration.

At the past couple of dinners we have spoken about finalizing an advanced level arbitration
exam and I am pleased to advise that finally after some significant effort we have completed the
task. While thanks must go to all those who have served on the Arbitration Strategy Committee
over the recent years, a special vote of thanks must go to David Adcroft, Jamie Welsh, Helen
Anderson, Andrew Kelley, Nigel Scott and not forgetting Elaine and Kai from the ICA secretariat,
for the major push in the last few months to get this completed. We now have an advanced
course examination in place that will provide the ICA with a higher level of arbitrator education
and training and that can only be positive in taking the Association forward.

Without question the highlight of my year as President has been the Singapore 2010 event in
March. Not only was this historically the first time the ICA had held a Board meeting in Asia, it
was also an outstanding success. I had always believed in the Asia direction and the spinners in
Asia proved that I was correct in this thinking with their tremendous support of an event that
confirmed the ICA can indeed be the global, international association it should be. The future of
this association is in Asia and events like last March must continue, we must maintain the


                                                                                                 3 of 5
momentum, but how do we do that? We must keep engaged with as many industry participants
as we can and that means we have to take the ICA to the markets rather than expect them to
come to us. It is therefore my pleasure to advise that during our Board meeting yesterday a path
forward was proposed and agreed. That path will take us to Dubai in the first half of 2011 for an
ICA conference and then to the first ICA Annual dinner to take place outside of the UK which will
be conducted in Hong Kong in 2012. Our dinner is a unique event and one of the highlights of
the cotton calendar but I can only imagine how spectacular this event is going to be when we
take it “Global” and into Asia. The theme of this gathering is “Going Global” and we are living up
to that theme!

 This is a historic decision for the ICA. So we have broken the historic tie of this dinner being
held in Liverpool and should that be the last of major change? No, is definitely the answer and
let me pose a question to the audience. Is it wrong to envisage the headquarters of the ICA in
Asia? After all the Liverpool Cotton Association was established here because that is where the
trade was. Therefore following that logic the trade today is in Asia and I can see no reason why
the ICA should not have an office in Asia. The International Cotton Association is the industries
global arbitral body, there is no other association that has the depth of coverage that we have
and it is therefore incumbent upon us to develop, grow and solidify this position.

I cannot allow the current trading environment to go unmentioned and it is appropriate that as
we gather here in Liverpool to remind ourselves of the core principal of the ICA and that is the
concept for sanctity of contract. Undoubtedly the past few years have provided us with some
extremely volatile trading conditions and those conditions have changed our industry forever
with the disappearance of some historical names, however I think we will all agree that the
market volatility we are seeing in 2010 is completely different to what we saw in 2008. But while
the fundamental and technical considerations of our market appear in tandem at present I don’t
think any of us would deny that the potential for contract default is just as high, in fact may be
more, than in 2008. The rapid advance in prices, both physical and futures, will surely test the
principle of contract sanctity and it is therefore vitally important that the industry works together
in a cohesive manner so that we can limit the impact on our trading environment. Unfortunately I
have no doubt that ICA will face an increase in arbitration requests over the coming weeks and
months but lets also not forget that without the ICA we could be like the yarn business with no
contract sanctity at all!!

A colleague of mine has often quoted to me this year “living your dream”, a reference to the
supposedly glamorous position of being ICA President, and whilst at times it has been more like
a nightmare than a dream I am pleased to have lived this dream. Nevertheless thankful in the
knowledge that it is only for 12 months!! It has been an honour to serve as President, to serve
the industry that has given me so much. This is a great Cotton Association, it has brought
stability to our trading environment for many years however I truly feel that we are embarking on
a new era, a clear path to becoming The global arbitral body for The international trade and at
this point I want to thank our international Board for their efforts, engagement and contribution in
taking the ICA forward. Long may that continue. In a further indication of our international



                                                                                                 4 of 5
direction it is my pleasure to advise that Mr Ahmed Elbosaty has accepted an invitation to stand
for election as Second Vice President at our Annual General Meeting in December.

Finally before I introduce our guest speaker I want to reflect on my career and thank the many
people, a significant portion of whom are here tonight, who have helped shape and influence my
path through life and my cotton odyssey. I thank you all for your help and guidance. I also want
to thank my current boss, Jagdish for allowing me the time to pursue one of my dreams, to my
colleagues, Cameron, Sam, Matt and Pery for taking on a larger work load during the past year
and of course everyone at the ICA who have helped me perform this role.

We all have key moments, crunch moments in our lives when the hand of fate intervenes, and I
feel as though I have had plenty of those, however the most pivotal moment in my life was when
I met, Jackie, the one person who has been a constant in my life for the past 28 years. How
could I have done this without you?

Thank you.


Cliff White
ICA President

1 October 2010




                                                                                             5 of 5

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Stats:
views:11
posted:2/21/2011
language:English
pages:5