The likely replacement for John Knappenberger as President and CEO of ANAB is Keith Greenaway, currently its Acting President and COO. Greenaway is the son of Albert “Skip” Greenaway, the president of registrar EAGLE Certification Group. EAGLE is accredited by ANAB.

Knappenberger quietly stepped down about two weeks ago; Oxebridge is not aware of any public press release or statement by ANAB announcing the departure. Sources say that ANAB had been looking outside of itself for a replacement for Knappenberger, but could not find one before his retirement; Knappenberger was originally slated to retire a year earlier, but stayed on while his replacement was sought.

The new arrangement raises concerns. EAGLE had previously launched a controversial program that rewarded consultants with cross-promotion and marketing if they delivered at least three clients to EAGLE. Oxebridge argued the program was a violation of ISO 17021-1 accreditation rules which prohibit co-marketing of certification and consulting services. ANAB oversees EAGLE’s compliance to ISO 17021-1, and so this means the son of EAGLE’s CEO now heads up the organization tasked with overseeing EAGLE.

Both EAGLE and ANAB are active in the somewhat murky organization called the International Association of Accredited Registrars (IAAR), with Skip Greenaway typically attending to represent EAGLE, and at least one ANAB representative typically present at every meeting. IAAR meetings are closed to the public and industry stakeholders, and the group has insisted it is not involved in industry-wide price-fixing despite Oxebridge’s concerns over the matter.

Oxebridge has accused ANAB of ignoring violations of ISO 17021-1 rules by its accredited registrars since those same registrars pay ANAB a fee for accreditation, causing a financial conflict of interest. The problem with EAGLE’s “consultant referral program” was reported to ANAB, but the accreditation body took no action. EAGLE quietly scrapped the program and the marketing manager responsible for it later left the company, so formal escalation to ANAB was not required.

ANAB has also ignored the relationship between registrar Platinum and consulting firm Cavendish Scott; the owners of the two companies are married, raising questions of conflicts of interest and nepotism; the two companies share both clients and executive management staff. Platinum once had a strong presence at IAAR meetings, but seems to have left the group.

ANAB representatives are a dominating force in the ISO/CASCO committee that writes the accreditation rules, such as ISO 17021-1, which has slowly eroded rules governing conflicts of interest and created more and more loopholes to allow accredited registrars to do as they like. Provided EAGLE developed a risk assessment to control the conflict between the familial relationship of the two Greenaways, it would likely be sufficient enough for ANAB to overlook the problem; that risk assessment, if it exists, would likely remain confidential and unavailable for review by stakeholders, and its not clear if ANAB assesses the validity of such an assessment, or merely that it was performed. Previous requests by Oxebridge to review such documents at registrars have been rejected.

The last line of defense in ensuring CBs and ABs remain free of conflicts of interest would be the International Accreditation Forum. However, both Greenaways are now likely to be official IAF representatives and/or liaisons for their respective organizations, since previously Skip Greenaway and John Knappenberger fell into these roles. With both Greenaways having influence on the IAF, a further weakening of the IAF’s role is expected.

ANAB is currently facing a leadership vacuum, with day-to-day operations run by VP Lori Gillespie, who lives in Texas, far from the ANAB headquarters. Previously, Randy Dougherty ran the operations, but stepped down from his former VP position and is now acting as a “technical specialist.”

Keith Greenaway previously managed the lab accreditation body A-CLASS, which joined ANAB after a merger of the two organizations.

The most obvious step EAGLE could take to send a message that it is working to limit the conflict of interest would be to switch accreditation to an ANAB competitor, such as UKAS or SCC. There appear to be no plans to do so.