December 01, 2002
Meetings & Conventions: Newsline newsline.gif (8042 bytes)   BEHIND THE RESIGNATION OF MPI’S PRESIDENT AND CEO
Earlier Moves to Oust Griffin Revealed
Edwin L. Griffin reportedly clashed with his board. The decision by Edwin L. Griffin Jr., CAE, not to renew his contract as president and CEO of Dallas-based Meeting Professionals International, effective April 30, 2003, might have appeared sudden to most association members. But according to inside sources, the move was a long time coming.

While the MPI chief said in an Oct. 25 press conference that he and his wife had discussed the possibility of his leaving the organization “seven or eight months ago,” several industry sources said he was informed in mid-October that the board would not be renewing his contract.

Griffin’s resignation marks the culmination of an often controversial 12-year tenure. According to one former member of MPI’s board of directors, who requested anonymity, “There have been at least two efforts over the years to remove him from the position, but none was successful.”

Another former board member told M&C the last concerted push to remove Griffin was in April 1997. “The deciding vote was dead even, and it fell to the board president at the time, Kitty Ratcliffe,” said the source. “When they couldn’t finish the deal” to oust Griffin from office, the members compromised by rejecting one of his hand-picked board appointees, the source added.

Ratcliffe, president of the Jacksonville (Fla.) and the Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau, declined to comment on the sessions, which are confidential, but she did say, “There have been several sets of boards of directors where this was a topic of discussion, both in and out of board meetings.”

At least one board member also has expressed concern that Griffin exerted a heavy hand in business dealings between members. “He told me that I should not associate with [a prominent meeting planner member], or it would jeopardize my future leadership in the organization,” said the source.

When asked to respond, Griffin said, “I have no recollection of any conversation like that and doubt that it occurred. The core structure of our association is to make sure the volunteer leaders are in charge of allowing their own peers to advance or not advance according to their colleagues’ impressions of whether they are the right leaders at the right time.”

Despite the controversies, MPI has prospered. During Griffin’s tenure, the organization has gone from a quiet group of about 10,000 to a leading voice in the international hospitality industry, with nearly 19,000 members.

MPI will form a search committee to find a replacement; a time line for the effort had not been set as of press time.


What Association Executives Earn The gender gap in earnings grows in relation to size of organization, according to a 2001 compensation survey. Male CEOs Female CEOs Trade association $136,775 $92,125 Individual membership association $139,241 $85,204 Total staff size: 2 or fewer $75,000 $60,000 3 to 5 $95,640 $77,000 6 to 10 $116,550 $108,000 11 to 20 $138,200 $126,000 21 to 50 $201,923 $159,280 51 to 100 $237,900 $145,518 More than 100 $287,600 $249,233 Total annual budget: $300,000 or less $67,600 $54,789 $300,001 to $500,000 $75,600 $68,579 $500,001 to $750,000 $90,000 $72,800 $750,001 to $1 million $102,000 $87,525 $1,000,001 to $2.5 million $118,800 $112,425 $2,500,001 to $5 million $170,000 $137,100 $5,000,001 to $10 million $227,750 $160,585 $10,000,001 to $15 million $225,994 $171,750 More than $15 million $285,000 $256,269 Source: American Society of Association Executives

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