ASA's new articles of association were adopted on 4 April 2013 by 179 votes in favour, and two against. The articles of association are the result of a year's work within the ASA Board, and significant consultation with the ASA membership. The proposed changes were presented and explained at last year's General Assembly in Bern and in subsequent mailings to ASA members but a few words of explanation might be of assistance to you.
The main differences relate to structures, particularly to the Board and Executive Committee (articles 9 and 10) and to the position of Executive Director (article 12). Regarding the Board, in the current structure, there is a Board composed of a maximum of 15 members with no real Executive Committee. This has been deemed to be unsatisfactory for several reasons. First, the 15-member limit is too low if we want to have on the Board people who spend a lot of time on ASA projects and, at the same time, other people who cannot necessarily devote much time to actual projects but who are extremely useful sounding boards and discussion partners. Second, the figure is too low if we want to be representative of the arbitration scene in Switzerland and abroad. The new structure expands the Board to a maximum of 25 members, but provides for an Executive Committee of a maximum of 9 members (President and two Vice-Presidents included). This enables us to induct more members into a large Board within which the exchange of ideas and experiences will be expanded and enriched, and to identify clearly a nucleus of persons who will have responsibility for concrete projects on a regular basis. At the same time, it allows for the intended possibility of associating younger practitioners with the work of ASA without renouncing the experience of more senior Board members. Note that article 10(5) enables the Executive Committee to delegate certain tasks to persons who are not members of the Board but who want to contribute.
This relates in particular to people from ASA Below 40 and the Marketing Committee and reflects current practice. In addition, the new articles of association provide for term limit on the Board of 12 years (article 9(2); see also transitory provision at article 9(6), which implicitly provides for a phasing-out in increments of the current Board members who would like to be Board members after the new articles of association are adopted).
As for the Executive Director (article 12), since last summer, Alex McLin has held the position and article 12 spells out what he is already doing now. The creation of the position of Executive Director is a major and indispensable development for ASA. It is a necessary step towards greater professionalism and focus in terms of management and marketing. The adoption of article 12 merely serves to provide a clear basis for the functions of the Executive Director in the articles of association. The other changes are mainly touching-up (e.g., a better provision on auditors; see article 13) or updating to reflect reality (see article 14 on local groups and the status of ASA Below 40).
Finally, the previous articles of association were in French only. In order to avoid the complications of having our articles in several languages and with the objective of facilitating the participation of our foreign members, it was decided to have the articles of association simply in English.
Michael E. Schneider, President
Elliott Geisinger, Bernhard Meyer, Vice-Presidents