Major Governance Changes at IFLA

After the release of Secretary General Gerald Leitner from his duties in April, followed quickly by resignations of the President-elect, Antonia Arahova, and the Treasurer, Perry Moree, new IFLA elections are scheduled.

On 8 April 2022, in a statement  that shocked most of the IFLA membership, the Governing Board (GB) of the association announced it was releasing its Secretary General, Gerald Leitner, from his duties “with immediate effect.” This course of action resulted from two different, independent firms’ investigation of the work at IFLA headquarters in The Hague. Halo Locher, a member of the GB, will serve as interim Secretary General until a new executive is hired.

The GB also announced that President-elect Antonia Arahova will step down “with immediate effect for urgent family matters, which will probably last a long period.” Her duties will be temporarily covered by Nthabiseng Kotsokoane. Treasurer Perry Moree decided to resign as well, citing work pressures. His function will be temporarily covered by Kirsten Boelt.

The GB has been tight-lipped about the reasons behind these three departures, not an untoward occurrence in personnel matters, but one that does not sit well with members calling for transparency. It did clarify that, in the case of the Secretary General, that the decision was  “not based on fraud or any kind of harassment.” Speculation has been high, with several articles from Swedish library journal Biblioteksbladet portraying a divided and hostile environment at the Board level. The GB responded on 14 April with a statement  regretting the public sharing of board meeting discussions. “It violates confidentiality, collegiality, and the personal rights by name Barbara Lison, IFLA President, Renu Sardjoe Mishre, Finance Director of IFLA, and other involved persons.”

On 25 April 2022, the nominations process for IFLA’s extraordinary election for a new President-elect and Treasurer opened. There are six weeks for candidates to come forward, and for Members and Affiliates to submit nominations. The term of office for successful candidates will last until the IFLA General Assembly 2023. More information about each role and the requirements for candidates can be found on the relevant pages for the President-elect and Treasurer, including links to submit applications. The deadline for nominations is 18:00 CEST on 6 June 2022 and the new officers will be in place before IFLA’s World Library & Information Congress (WLIC) to be held in Dublin in July. Early registration for WLIC has outpaced expectations, with one library tour already sold out, and the association is looking forward to a very successful event.