PowerSouth President and CEO Gary L. Smith may have made the most transparent case for why the state’s marquee corporations are in a steady exodus from the Business Council of Alabama.
“Our problem with BCA is simply Billy Canary and his leadership,” wrote Smith in the company’s withdrawal letter to BCA Chairman Perry Hand. “Billy has been effective in the past, but in our opinion, Billy is now a severe liability and must be replaced for BCA to again be effective.”
In April, Alabama Political Reporter broke the news that seven of the state’s leading companies were parting ways with BCA if Canary was not replaced by June.
After APR‘s story broke that the BCA Executive Committee had agreed to replace Canary, it was Hand who took to an internet newsletter to claim our story was false. However, Smith’s letter obtained by APR proves Hand lied. “You indicated the BCA Executive Committee agrees a leadership change is needed, but we have serious disagreements about the timing of the replacement,” wrote Smith.
In fact, the Executive Committee agreed it was time for Canary to go, but Hand and a few Canary loyalists invented a reason to keep Canary around until 2019. As Smith points out, not only is Canary staying in place, he is also included in selecting his replacement.
Smith states, “Billy’s continuing involvement in the search for his replacement,” as well as, “his involvement in the leadership transition,” is a severe problem.
Smith further writes, “We have no interest in participating in or supporting an organization that Billy heads, influence through his choice of successor, or can manipulate through a transitional plan. It is simply time to completely sever the relationship before further damage is done to the organization.”
To date, Alabama Power Company, PowerSouth, Regions Bank, Blue Cross Blue Shield and BCA legal counsel Boots Gale have fled BCA due to Canary’s failed leadership and Hand’s obstinate refusal to see the wisdom of his immediate replacement.