Charles Gould is to retire as director general of the International Co-operative Alliance, after seven years in the role.
Mr Gould, whose decision was revealed by Alliance president Monique Leroux in a letter to member organisations, has been with the organisation since 2010, having worked with the board of directors on developing its Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade as well as increasing its influence within global policy-making bodies.
Under his leadership, the Alliance also launched the World Co-operative Monitor, a report mapping the global co-operative sector and including statistical and comparative data.
Before joining the Alliance, he was chief executive of Volunteers of America, a health care, housing and human services organisation based in Washington DC. While there he oversaw an annual budget of $1bn and was recognised as one of the 50 most influential leaders in the country’s non-profit sector.
He has also served on the board of the American Society of Association Executives, and of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aged. Prior to this he practised as an attorney-at-law with Arnold & Porter and Hogan & Hartson law firms in Washington.
Mr Gould has a juris doctor (JD) degree from the University of Minnesota Law School, and a master of studies (MSt) in international human rights law from Oxford University.
The next director general will play a key role in drafting a new strategic plan for the Alliance, as the Blueprint draws to a close.
At its meeting in Sofia last week, the Alliance board reviewed the organisation’s succession plan and appointed a human resources committee, chaired by Seah Kian Peng, to lead a global search of internal and external candidates for Mr Gould’s replacement.
Candidates will be presented for final selection to the incoming board of directors following their election at the Alliance’s General Assembly in Malaysia this November. Mr Gould has agreed to extend his term into the new year if necessary for the transition process.
Commenting on his retirement, he said: “The past seven years with the Alliance have been extremely fulfilling. It has been a real privilege to work with such a great staff team, board and members. I’m now looking forward to continuing to support the co-operative movement from a distance at this time when it especially has so much to offer the world.”
Alliance president, Monique Leroux, added: “ On behalf of the entire board of the International Co-operative Alliance, I want to thank Mr Gould for his service and his support. Mr Gould could not have done a better job at unifying our global movement and targeting the right issues to ensure our relevance and our growth. He will be remembered for his important contribution to the Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade. I am so appreciative of his work and that he will continue to work with us for the next months to ensure a smooth transition”.