Monique Leroux, president of board of directors of the International Co-operative Alliance, has announced she will not be putting her name forward for the position in this year’s elections due to “important personal and family reasons”.
Ms Leroux was elected in 2015 for a two year term following the retirement of the UK’s Dame Pauline Green, becoming the second female president in the Alliance’s 120 year history.
“My time as president of the ICA has left me with incredible memories, and enabled me to discover a team of leaders who have marked me through their convictions as much as by their dedication,” she wrote in a letter to Alliance members. “I had the opportunity to meet some outstanding people in more than 30 countries. I thank you for having been so generous with your time and experience.”
The former chair, president and CEO of Desjardins Group (Canada’s largest co-operative financial group) added that due to “some very particular personal circumstances” she is forced to limit her activities outside Canada.
In November, she joined the board of finance and analytics company S&P Global, and she also serves as chair of the board of Investissement Québec and on the boards of public companies Michelin, Bell BCE and Alimentation Couche-Tard.
“I maintain a deep conviction in the strength of the co-operative movement,” she wrote. “More than ever, we are at a pivotal moment, where our co-operative contribution can make a tremendous difference in communities seeking to find a new direction in the face of global challenges.”
Ms Leroux said she was “proud” of what the Alliance has accomplished during her tenure, citing the agreement with the European Union, the 2016 International Summit of Cooperatives, its representations on international platforms before the UN and the B20, as well as the Alliance’s Action Plan.
“I would like to thank you for the confidence you have shown me,” she said, “and I know that I will have the opportunity to express my full appreciation at the [Alliance’s] annual general meeting in Kuala Lumpur,” where the Alliance’s president elections will take place.
So far one candidate – Arial Guarco – has confirmed they are standing for the position. Dr Guarco has been the president of Cooperar, the national apex organisation for co-operatives in Argentina, since 2001 and a member of the Alliance’s board since 2013. He stood against Ms Leroux in the 2015 election, coming second with 28% of votes.
Ms Leroux confirmed she would remain available until March 2018 to ensure a “smooth transition” for the new board and president.