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Breaking News: Alabama Power withdraws from BCA

Bill Britt

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This morning, a letter was delivered to the Business Council of Alabama stating that Alabama Power is withdrawing its membership from the business organization, “effective immediately.”

Alabama Political Reporter obtained a copy of the letter in which Alabama Power CEO Mark Crosswhite makes clear to BCA Chairman Perry Hand and Executive Committee members why the company is pulling its support. “[W]e have become concerned that membership in BCA has become a liability rather than a benefit,” states Crosswhite in the first paragraph. He further writes, “To be candid, BCA has needlessly alienated federal and state officials, failed to communicate with its own members, squandered our collective corporate goodwill, allowed its financial health to decline, and become a divisive force in our State.”

Alabama Power has been a member of BCA since its inception, and its departure will rock the business community, especially those who understand the far-reaching influence of the company.

According to those who have followed Crosswhite through this process, he and others have worked diligently to foster positive change at BCA, but their efforts were met at every turn by a stubborn, even hostile, BCA hierarchy beholden to Billy Canary, BCA’s beleaguered CEO.

In his letter, Crosswhite illuminates these efforts and the resistance that led to this breakaway moment.

“Since August 2017, we have expressed our concerns over the direction of BCA to the staff and officers of BCA’s Executive Committee. Simply put, we believe the to remedy these issues BCA needs new leadership and a thorough review of the governance of the organization,” he writes. “Despite repeated assurances that our concerns will be addressed, there has been no meaningful response. At this point, further discussions would be fruitless and a waste of everyone’s time. Accordingly, Alabama Power is withdrawing from BCA, effective immediately.”

Canary is persona non grata in the offices of Alabama’s powerful Republican U.S. Senator Richard Shelby. As a result, he is shunned by most in the Alabama delegation. At the Alabama State House, Canary has accumulated more enemies than friends and increasingly finds himself isolated. Canary’s reputation is so tainted that during the recent Republican primary, few candidates touted BCA’s endorsements while still accepting BCA’s contributions.

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Canary’s problems date back to his alliance with disgraced former Republican Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, who was convicted on 12 felony counts of using his office and other acts of public corruption. Canary’s personal involvement in Hubbard’s schemes cast a pall over the once revered business organization, limiting BCA’s ability to forward its member’s agenda.

Crosswhite and other business executives, including those from Blue Cross Blue Shield, Regions Bank, Drummond Coal and others, have pushed over the last year to stabilize BCA, but these efforts were rebuked by Canary and Hand.

Losing Alabama Power’s support is seen as perhaps a near fatal blow to BCA’s standing in the business community under Canary’s leadership.

The immediate withdrawal of Alabama Power may very well lead to more companies leaving BCA, where any loss of membership funding could be a catastrophic fail.

See copy of letter below.

Dear Perry:

Alabama Power Company has been a member of the Business Council of Alabama since BCA’s inception, and over that time has been a significant supporter of the organization. More recently, however, we have become concerned that membership in BCA has become a liability rather than a benefit. To be candid, BCA has needlessly alienated federal and state officials, failed to communicate with its own members, squandered our collective corporate goodwill, allowed its financial health to decline, and become a divisive force in our State.

Since August 2017, we have expressed our concerns over the direction of BCA to the staff and officers of BCA’s Executive Committee. Simply put, we believe that to remedy these issues BCA needs new leadership and a thorough review of the governance of the organization. Despite repeated assurances that our concerns will be addressed, there has been no meaningful response. At this point, further discussions would be fruitless and a waste of everyone’s time. Accordingly, Alabama Power is withdrawing from BCA, effective immediately.

Sincerely yours, Mark Crosswhite

cc: Executive Committee

 

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