Rival group of past SCAA Presidents rebuke colleagues’ SCEXIT push

Ten past Presidents of the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) have written an open letter to counter a campaign by a rival group of their counterparts to derail moves to unify the organisation with the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE). Responding to a campaign led by SCAA founding President, Donald Schoenholt urging members to vote against unification with SCAE, a group of past Presidents who are pro unification is calling on members to treat Schoenholt’s claims with scepticism when deciding their vote. “Contrary to some harsh, false and unpleasant rhetoric we’ve read recently, we believe that the more members who are involved in this decision, and the more that this issue is discussed, the better off we all will be,” the pro unification group writes. “We believe that there are compelling reasons for our two associations to unite and valid concerns that many of you may want to address before you make your decision. But we do believe that the SCAA’s Board of Directors and the SCAA’s executive management are acting in good faith in recommending the merger. We believe the financial data they are presenting is accurate and current. We also respect and acknowledge the recent vote of the SCAE’s membership to proceed with unification.” The letter is signed by ten past Presidents of the SCAA, including the five most recent people to have held the post. The signatories are: Tim Castle (1990-91); Mike Ebert (2009-10); David Griswold (2003-04); Peter Giuliano (2010-11); Shawn Hamilton (2014-15); Mark Inman (2008-09): Tim O’Connor (2011-12); Rick Peyser (2005-06); Rob Stephen (2006-07); Paul Thornton (2013-14). You can read the full letter here. The pro unification letter is in response to a letter from Schoenholt, which is signed by a group of 11 past Presidents of the SCAA, decrying the move as ‘21st century socialist colonialism” and warning readers that: “Among some of the good attributes that are claimed for unification is its collective benefit,” Schoenholt writes. “That doesn’t sound American to us. It has an unfamiliar alien ring to it. Down what dark road are we being led?” Members of the SCAA have until 5 August to vote on whether they would like to see their organisation unified with the SCAE. Members of the SCAE voted in favour of unification in May.

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