FEI takes some bold moves into unknown waters

Recently when the FEI publicly released the long awaited Eventing Risk Management Plan, I was critical of most aspects as the plan in my opinion lacked many of the key aspects of a plan. However, I was very excited by one aspect of the plan which was to prioritize the Communications within Risk Management. While I am still waiting for the phone call or email to gather my thoughts on how the FEI Eventing Team can improve aspects of communication, I am heartened by recent movement at the top of the FEI.

Oh wait, before I get to my excitement perhaps I should express my confusion first. Communication and transparency are key platforms of the reform process that is underway. How is it that the CEO of the FEI can resign on Friday and his replacement be appointed on the following Tuesday, that is less than 3 business days. There must be some amazing headhunters in Switzerland. I have NEVER seen a global search for a CEO completed with such expediency EVER. Congratulations.

Now back to my excitement. The FEI in the last few weeks has really stepped into some unchartered waters and as a ‘Social Media Freak’ I am highly excited. The FEI are now on FaceBook yes, this is a huge step. I hope they have a well resourced Social Media Team as I think this could be a very interesting experiment otherwise.

In addition, there is now a FEI twitter account. Social media is an extremely powerful tool and twitter is one that has bitten many big organizations on the bum. A great example of this is the great oil company with leakage issues in the Gulf of Mexico. Check out the spoof twitter account BPGlobalPR. This is a great example of how the twitterati can turn on an organization who get their PR wrong or even worse in the eyes of the social media, having a foray into social media without a plan and the resources to do it well.

One of the critical aspects of all social media is that you cannot control what people say about you or people within your organization. If you do try that, then the hive will turn on you. So when I say I am excited about the FEI stepping into the realm of social media it is with some expectation of things not going quite to plan.

Another interesting change that has happened in the last few weeks is the appointment of the FEI Constitutional Task Force. Getting to this point has not been without controversy but the appointment as Chair of the Task Force of Akaash Maharaj, Equine Canada’s CEO is a surprise and a brave move by the FEI. Anyone even remotely familiar with Akaash will know he is NOT afraid to speak his mind and is a clear advocate for open and public debate.

Akaash is not your average Federation CEO, has achieved many things in his personal and professional life and studied at Oxford University in Master of Arts in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. To appoint Akaash to head this Task Force was no accident, he will be thorough open and consultative. He is also not European which will bring interesting feedback I am sure.

When I heard Akaash had been appointed in this role I sent him a little note wishing him well and expressing my concern that perhaps he has been appointed in the hope he might fail. He was philosophical about the appointment and deeply touched he had been given the chance to help reform the FEI and said simply that he would much prefer to have tried and failed than not tried at all. That is a sentiment I can completely understand, it is exactly the reason that drives me in my Eventing Safety campaign.

What I do know is that the Task Force has started on the right foot by communicating with the Federations publicly. Here is a copy of the letter sent out. While I do not know the other committee members Cesar Carmargo Serrano of Columbia, nor Kim Gueho of Mauritius nor Ulf Helgstrand of Denmark, I do know Paul Cargill of Australia. If his name does sound familiar he is the current Chair of Equestrian Australia, an accomplished Lawyer and the father of Hamish, of Hamish and Dave fame or as he is known at the moment HamoNoDavo.

This whole experience is a new and exciting chapter in the future of the FEI and I for one am really looking forward to it.

ESJ

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About ESJ_Photo

John Lechner also known as ESJ or JohnVacy is a photographer and writer. He is based in the Hunter Valley of NSW in Australia. John has a passion for Eventing photography and writing. John is an FEI Official (Technical Delegate) in addition to the work he does as a writer and photographer in the sport. You can see John's work on Eventing Nation and An Eventful Life where he is both a contributor as a photographer and writer. To find out more about ESJ and where he will be next be shooting more eventing photography then go to About ESJ. John is available to provide specific photographs at Events for riders and sponsors as well as providing images for publication.

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