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[September 01, 2014]
Co-op voters turf out disastrous amateur board [Wales on Sunday (Wales)]
(Wales on Sunday (Wales) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) A RADICAL shake-up of the crisishit Co-operative group has been backed by its members following a landmark vote yesterday.
At a special general meeting in Manchester, the Co-op said 83% of votes were cast in favour of proposals drawn up in the wake of the disastrous period last year when the mutual racked up record Pounds 2.5bn losses.
The plans include reform of the food-to-funerals group board structure, with elected directors - including the likes of a plasterer, engineer and retired deputy head teacher - largely replaced by professional business people.
The new governance structure includes the creation of a smaller board of directors, and a move to a one-member one-vote system. Coop chair Ursula Lidbetter said the vote was "a momentous and defining moment" for the group.
She added: "These reforms represent the final crucial step in delivering the change necessary to return the group to health. This will strengthen the society and enable us to move forward with the urgent work to rebuild the business and deliver on our renewed purpose, in the interests of all our colleagues and our millions of members and customers." An earlier poll in May saw the key principles behind the changes win unanimous backing, although the reforms have faced some resistance from within the co-operative movement.
More than 500 people signed a petition, launched by Co-operative Business Consultants and backed by film director Ken Loach, saying the reforms were "directly opposed to the co-operative principles of democratic member control".
The proposals were produced following a review by former City minister Lord Myners, though they water down his recommendation to purge the board of elected directors.
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