Co-op Group opens applications for Member Nominated Directors

The Co-operative Group is looking for candidates with boardroom experience to join its board as member nominated directors. The Group’s board includes four member nominated directors (MNDs) to represent ordinary...

The Co-operative Group is looking for candidates with boardroom experience to join its board as member nominated directors.

The Group’s board includes four member nominated directors (MNDs) to represent ordinary members. Their role includes helping to set the business strategy, overseeing commercial and financial performance, and ensuring co-operative values and principles remain at the heart of their co-op.

Two MNDs are elected or re-elected each year at the Group’s annual general meeting, to serve a two-year term. The positions currently up for election are occupied by Paul Chandler and Ruth Spellman, who were elected in May 2015. They have until 22 December to indicate if they wish to stand for election.

Candidates must meet both the eligibility and membership criteria. In terms of eligibility, they are required to have skills and experience as well as empathy with co-operative values and principles.

Membership criteria include how long the candidate has been a member of the Group and the extent of their trade with the Co-operative. Candidates need to have at least 1,000 trading points in the financial year to 31 December 2016 – although this membership criteria may be waived in exceptional circumstances.

In addition, candidates need to be commercially minded with the ability to rigorously hold the executive management team to account for the Group’s financial and trading performance. They also need to be committed to upholding Co-operative Values and Principles and aware of how they should and can be applied in a large-scale commercial enterprise.

After they have been assessed against the eligibility and membership criteria, applications will be considered by the Group’s MND Joint Selection and Approvals Committee, comprising representatives from the Group Board and Members’ Council.

Shortlisted candidates will be asked for further information to enable background screening checks before they are approved to take part in the election.

Any appointment is subject to approval by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority (SRA) because the Group has a legal services business and its board members have ultimate control of this business.

In addition, shortlisted candidates will be invited to a mutual due diligence day where they will be interviewed and have the opportunity to meet members of the Group Board and Council.

Selected candidates will be put forward, along with others, to take part in a contested election in which members will vote. Those elected will be appointed to the board after the Group’s AGM in May 2017.

MNDs need to commit for the role a minimum of three to four days a month. The board meets monthly in Manchester, with occasional additional meetings in London. The term of office of is two years, and each MND can serve a maximum of three terms of two years.

Co-op Group chair Allan Leighton said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Co-op members to have their voice heard in the boardroom. Having our members on our Board is part of our co-op difference – it sets us apart from other investor-owned businesses.

“Together with our other appointed directors, the MNDs ensure our co‑operative values and principles are at the forefront of our strategic thinking and decision making.”

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