Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 8°C

ESTD 1874 Search

UK: Smaller board of directors at Co-op under reforms announced today

08:59 08 August 2014

A Co-operative Group foodstore

A Co-operative Group foodstore


The Co-op is to recruit a smaller board of 11 directors with “high standards of competence” as part of radical governance reforms announced today.

The mutual, which received the backing of members to begin the changes at a landmark meeting in May, will also establish a 100-member council to act as guardian of the group’s values and to hold the board to account.

Other changes include a move to one-member-one-vote on significant matters such as the election of directors and major transactions.

The Co-op, which last year racked up a £2.5 billion loss following the worst period in its 150-year history, said the reforms will be put to a vote at a special general meeting on August 30.

Interim chief executive Richard Pennycook said approval of the governance changes will mark the end of the rescue phase of the group following recent progress in shoring up its balance sheet.

Co-op chair Ursula Lidbetter added: “These governance reforms represent the final crucial step in delivering the necessary change to restore the group and return it to health.”

Under a transitional structure, the Co-op’s board will reduce from 18 to nine as soon as the rules are agreed.

It will then look to appoint a new board consisting of a chairman and five independent non-executive directors, plus two executive directors, including the chief executive, and three member nominated directors.

The Co-op said: “All board directors will be expected to meet the high standards of competence commensurate with the needs of a business of the scale and complexity of the group and a demonstrated commitment to Co-operative values and principles.”

The changes are based on the four-point resolution proposed by Lord Myners and voted on by members at the special meeting in May.

The former City minister previously warned that the Co-op, which has around eight million members and a 90,000-strong workforce, faced a bleak future unless it took urgent steps to replace its “dysfunctional” board structure.

Lord Myners, who has since stepped down from the Co-op board after he was appointed a director in December, said it was apparent from the first time he attended a board meeting that not one of its members had the ability to address the complex issues faced by a group with £1.4 billion of debt.

His “plc and beyond” structure met an initially hostile response from some parts of the movement but then won unanimous support at the vote.

The council, which will act as guardian of the Co-op values, will be composed of a maximum of 100 members and led by a president, who will be elected for a term of two years. There will also be a senate to co-ordinate the activities of the council and act as a link with the board and members.

The board of the Co-op is recommending that members vote in favour of the changes, while the structure also has the support of Co-operatives UK.

Search hundreds of local jobs at Jobs24


  • Swatts asks some good questions. East of England Co-op members should especially be considering whether their society is at risk, as the Co-operative Group was, from having unqualified amateurs with little or no business experience occupying the roles of Directors. Their recent financial results should be ringing alarm bells.

    Report this comment

    The Main Man

    Saturday, August 9, 2014

  • Will our local East of England Co-op be following the national group and revising its own top heavy board and management structure? This year's annual report shows 16 Directors each receiving £7,690 in fees (as well as expenses) and a five strong 'Leadership Team' - with the highest paid on over £235,000 and a total for the five of over £770,000. Does a retailer of this size really need that level of remuneration? What are the qualifications for all these 'experts' and why does a organisation of this size need a board of 16 and 5 Chief Exec level roles?

    Report this comment


    Friday, August 8, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Sandy Jackson - Mark Westley Photography

British Gas has been forced to backtrack after repeatedly billing a 91-year-old great-grandmother for hundreds of pounds more than she owed.

Ian Thoroughgood, associate director at Grant Thornton in Ipswich, with Jonathan Agar, chief executive of Birketts.

Business advisers firm Grant Thorton is to unveil its 15th “Suffolk Limited” report next month on how the county’s leading businesses have performed over the past year.

Colleagues at Care UK's Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre.

Colchester-based Care UK is celebrating after one of its nine NHS treatment centres across the country achieved an overall “Outstanding” rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The Lloyds Bank School for Social Entrepreneurs graduates.

Seventeen entrepreneurs from School for Social Entrepreneurs East, at Ipswich Waterfront have graduated from Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme

Adnams Bitter pairs well with roast meats.

The finance boss of East Anglian brewer Adnams has urged MPs to consider if “over-generous” pension promises which could bring companies to their knees could be watered down or reversed.


Show Job Lists

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24