The US accreditation body ANAB has announced that ANSI has taken over sole ownership, as former co-owner ASQ has sold its ownership stake. ASQ has co-owned ANAB since 2005, when the Registrar Accreditation Board (RAB) was split into the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board and the RABQSA training organization. The split came after the industry objected to conflicts of interest presented by RAB’s concurrent accreditation and training service offerings.
RABQSA later became Exemplar Global.
A source reports to Oxebridge that ASQ possibly sold its ownership share of ANAB in order to offset increasingly crushing financial problems, exacerbated by a “big balloon payment coming up for their building in Milwaukee.” Recently, ASQ announced it was forcibly taking 100% of all funds previously collected by the hundreds of ASQ local Sections and putting them into a single bank account managed by ASQ, outraging many members. Members publicly speculated that ASQ made the move because of financial mismanagement, and a need to quickly increase the organization’s cash on hand, as well as to collect interest on the money. ASQ has promised to “disburse” the funds back to the Sections as it’s needed, but there appear to be no guarantees that this will happen.
The final deadline for Sections to surrender their funds in January 1st.
Members in multiple states have reported to Oxebridge that ASQ participation in section meetings is down, and that they suspect membership of the organization is dwindling. ASQ has attempted to offset losses in the US by appealing to China, a move that has caused some minor controversy as ASQ CEO William Troy and Board Chair Elmer Corbin have been giving interviews to Chinese state-run media in which they appear to praise China while denigrating US politicians.
In a recent interview with US media, William Troy invoked the tragedy of 9/11 to reinforce his leadership skills, a move that Oxebridge branded as “ghoulish.”
Troy has faced a string of controversies, as he refused to issue even a tepid denunciation of racism after an ASQ State Chair was found to have written over a decade of anti-immigrant, racist political articles. Instead, Troy insisted ASQ was “committed to providing service to ALL members, regardless of personal background,” a comment that some have viewed as supporting white nationalists.
ASQ did update its Code of Ethics to prohibit “prejudice and discrimination” by its members, but then refused to process a complaint made against its members who were known to have violated it, instead attacking Oxebridge for filing it.
In a tone-deaf move that ignored the current #MeToo environment, ASQ re-posted a sexist press release from 1970 that honored a typing pool secretary by calling her “piquant” and suggesting the men “took a second look” at her.
Troy also promised to investigate a string of ASQ controversies, and then failed to do so. This included potentially illegal fundraising on the part of ASQ for the US TAG to TC 176, which was later looked into by the IRS, and overt violations of the ASQ peer-review editorial policies by Quality Progress editor Seiche Sanders. instead Troy asked Oxebridge to “leave Seiche out of it” because she was pregnant. Quality Progress has refused to publish articles even mildly critical of ISO 9001, despite a policy that prohibits such decisions.
The sale of ANAB is likely to be a short-term fix for ASQ, who must figure out ways to win back quality professionals. Oxebridge published a two-point plan on how ASQ can do so, but has not responded. Instead, ASQ has doubled-down on its decades-long strategic mission to sell Lean Six Sigma to members, some of whom say they are increasingly exhausted hearing about the dubious subject.
ASQ is still facing legal hurdles, as well, over the multiple attempts by administrator Jennifer Admussen to block Oxebrdge founder Christopher Paris from speaking at any ASQ events. Ms. Admussen was caught working with TAG 176 leaders Paul Palmes and Alka Jarvis, as well as certificate mill operator Daryl Guberman, reaching out to Section leaders to cancel sessions featuring Mr. Paris. Troy refused to work with Oxebridge to discuss the matter out of court.
ANSI’s New Responsibilities
The sale is likely to be less of a benefit to ANSI as well, as CEO Joe Bhatia now holds full responsibility for ANAB’s conflicts of interest and controversies. ANAB logos have appeared on ISO 9001 or other certificates for companies involved in a number of major scandals, including the Takata airbag deaths, the Miami bridge collapse and the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Despite this, ANAB has taken no action against the CBs involved in those cases, and has routinely sided with CBs when faced with formal complaints. These issues now fall fully under the ANSI brand.
Oxebridge is pressing the US House Committee on Science, Space and Technology to recall Mr. Bhatia, who testified previously before the committee and assured it that everything was fine on his watch. Oxebridge asserts Mr. Bhatia failed to properly inform the Congress, and must be recalled to answer new questions about the role of ANSI and ANAB in these various accidents, scandals and product recalls.
The ANAB press release claims, without evidence, that the move will “strengthen impartiality,” but fails to explain how ASQ hindered that in any way. ANAB’s current Acting President is the son of the President of one of ANAB’s accredited bodies, and the loss of ASQ will not correct such glaring conflicts of interest.
The full ANAB press release may be read here.
CORRECTION 6 December 2018: This article was updated to reflect that ASQ has owned ANAB since 2005.