Thursday, June 17, 2010

Windhorse:Evolution choose new MD

The Triratna Buddhist Order contains many unsung heroes among its' 1,600 members. One of these is Vajraketu, who for the past 23 years has been Managing Director of Windhorse:Evolution, Triratna’s largest and most successful Right Livelihood business. With Windhorse turning over some £10m/year, and annual dana sometimes exceeding £250k, he's been responsible for a lot of money flowing into the Movement! But all things are impermanent, and now he writes to say -

“I have been a director of Windhorse for almost twenty-five years and the Managing Director for twenty-three of those years. Now I have decided to step down as Managing Director and pass that position on to Keturaja. I will remain as a Director, with my main responsibility being for buying, and with input into all the areas of the business that I currently input to.

"Broadly speaking there are two reasons for making this change. It has been increasingly apparent over the last two to three year that more and more of the initiative and vision for the business is coming from Keturaja. While he hasn’t done everything himself, it is fair to say that he has played the leading role in what has proved to be a relatively smooth transition of W:E from an almost exclusively Buddhists-working-on-support business, to one of a harmonious mix of non-Buddhists and Buddhists, waged and supported. At the same time, we have made big strides in becoming more professional, and less chaotic, as befits a business our size, and he also led much of that.

From the archives: a Windhorse meeting from the early 1990s
Keturaja is on the left
“So there is a definite sense in which my stepping down as MD is in part an acknowledgement of a change that has already happened, rather than a radical shift, and that is the first reason why we are doing it.

“Secondly, it became clear to me last year that the business needs a vision for the next five to ten years. We have spent the past eighteen months or more in survival mode. This was very necessary, and in its way it was a vision and one that we collectively responded to very well. But it won’t do as a vision for the long-term future.

“My personal assessment is that Keturaja is better able than me to mould and lead that new vision. Partly this is a matter of age and energy. I am 56 and feel more like resting on my laurels rather than energetically leading a dynamic new vision. Even if I did feel like doing it I think Keturaja would actually be better at it than I would. He is very thorough, consensual and clear, while at the same time being creative and imaginative, a quite rare combination of qualities. I have relied on him a lot over the years and he has not perhaps got as much credit for the successes of W:E as he has deserved.

“I would like to emphasise that I am sticking around. I enjoy my work and I enjoy working here and with you. I am not leaving. I still have a lot to offer the business in terms of experience and practical knowledge, but I don’t quite have the right combination of qualities to give the business the leadership I think it needs at the moment. Keturaja will, no doubt, expand on what he thinks about all this elsewhere”.

Tomorrow we’ll be printing some reflections by Keturaja, including his ten-point summary of Windhorse’s core ethical values and purpose.



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