According to the Business Council of Alabama, its August conference, “routinely attracts more than 500 guests.” This year, it will be missing more than a few, and some of its biggest sponsors, as some of the state’s marquee corporations, have left the business group over what they describe as CEO Billy Canary’s failed leadership.
This year, even Alabama’s House and Senate leadership might take a pass on the summer gathering.
Even though Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh are scheduled to appear at the Saturday breakfast program, their offices are telling APR that they have yet to determine to attend the annual event that runs from August 10 through 12 at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear.
In reply to APR‘s request for comment, Speaker Mac McCutcheon’s office said, “Leadership has not committed yet.” Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh’s office responded with, “At this time no decision has been made.”
That the Republican Speaker and Pro Tem haven’t committed to an event just a little over a month away is suggestive of BCA’s waning influence under Canary.
In recent weeks, Alabama Power Company, Regions Bank, Blue Cross Blue Shield and other companies have exited BCA, citing a lack of confidence in the direction of the association under Canary.
The first meeting on Friday will feature BCA’s ProgressPAC Board of Directors whose leader, Mike Kemp, recently resigned, citing his differences which point directly back to the Executive Committee’s decision to keep Canary.
BCA President Perry Hand, chairman of Volkert Inc., has defiantly defended Canary, but realities on the ground show both men have lost the war they fought to fend off change at the top. Canary will be replaced at BCA as soon as September but no later than January 1, 2019.
Sources within BCA say that Canary is now accusing Hand of bugling the situation. But Canary’s demise tracks back to his alliance with former Speaker and convicted felon Mike Hubbard and the heavy-handed Canary employed at the State House.
It’s rare for Republicans not to attend a BCA-hosted affair, but this year may be an exception.