The last occasion that we met one another was at the annual event in Brazil, which actually seems such a short time ago. Our previous meeting remains fresh in my memory, as a result of all that I experienced there.
During the meeting, the GPA board brought us up to speed on its plans for the period ahead. These included the further evolution of the GPA Alliance to become a private limited company (B.V.). This hurdle was successfully negotiated on 1 December last year, thus creating a more formal relationship between the GPA and its members, which enables us to better meet our commitments to global customers. In addition, Julian Philips (former GPA Board Director) went on to explain the unique aspects of the GPA. A naturally gifted storyteller, Mr Philips made reference to the system of plutocracy applied by the Roman Empire. This was a method of governance whereby the wealthy at the time held power, and therefore passed legislation applicable to the rest of society. It is one of the pitfalls that can be encountered when an organisation becomes very large.
The GPA, in stark contrast, applies a pluralist system. It is an alliance which unites members with various ideas and visions. In fact, it is more or less comparable to Dutch society, which has become more pluralistic due to the arrival of immigrants in the country. And Mr Philips’ analogy is highly accurate. The GPA comprises various cultures in which all members retain their own individuality, while nevertheless jointly forming one big club. It has a unique style of collaboration, which is also highly tangible.