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Lord Myners’ resignation throws Co-op into further chaos

10 April 2014

Lord Myners has resigned from the board of the Co-op Group, throwing the organisation into further chaos.

Myners has quit just four months in to his role as senior independent director of the group, having been appointed in December 2013 to look into the governance of the group and board.

He leaves after proposals reforming the structure of the current board were rejected by Midcounties Co-operative, one of the group’s largest regional societies.

ICSA Policy Director Peter Swabey comments: ‘There is a fundamental difficulty in mixing the need for strong, commercial leadership successfully with the cosy ideal of stakeholder representation, through a structure of committees of elected representatives, who may or may not have the appropriate knowledge and experience to run a modern company.’

The proposals put forward include breaking up the current 21-member board into a smaller board consisting of up to nine members and the introduction of a 100 strong National Membership Council.

Myners’ exit follows the resignation of ex-CEO Euan Sutherland, who quit his role last month following leaks regarding his remuneration package.

Swabey adds that ‘as a membership body itself, ICSA recognises the challenges inherent in such a structure, but it is essential for the long-term future of the Co-op that a change of mind-set can be engineered. The chances of success will be very limited unless that change comes from within, and it seems that there are some entrenched interests which are resistant to the modern world, and would like to see the Co-op’s governance remain resolutely in the past.

‘Sadly for the Co-op, both Euan Sutherland and Lord Myners felt as if they faced an impossible task.’

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