US apex body NCBA-Clusa has elected Erbin Crowell as chair of its board.
Mr Crowell, who is also executive director of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association, takes over from Andrew Jacob, who served two terms in the role.
He said: “I am honoured to have this opportunity to serve in this new role at such an important time for our association and the wider co-operative community.”
“On behalf of the leadership and staff of NCBA-Clusa, I want to thank Andrew for his leadership, years of service and deep dedication to the continued success of our association,” said Doug O’Brien, president and CEO of the organisation.
“As we turn to new leadership, we congratulate Erbin on his appointment and look forward to working with him to fulfil our mission and vision that places co-operatives at the heart of a robust and inclusive economy.”
Mr Crowell first joined NCBA’s board in 2007, serving as vice chair from 2010. In this role he was involved in formally positioning NCBA-Clusa as an advocate for an inclusive economy, as outlined by the Rockefeller Foundation.
“With this vision in place, we now have a strong platform to help us communicate what co-ops offer to the task of building a more inclusive economy that works for everyone,” he said.
Mr Crowell initially joined the co-operative movement through Equal Exchange, a worker co-op pioneering Fairtrade products. He went on to work with the Cooperative Development Institute, the Cooperative Fund of New England, the Valley Alliance of Worker Co-ops, and as an independent consultant.
He has been leading the Neighboring Food Co-op Association since 2010. He holds a master of management in co-operatives & credit unions from St Mary’s University in Nova Scotia and is an adjunct lecturer with the Department of Economics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where he teaches on the co-operative movement. He also serves on the board of directors of the New England Farmers Union.
He said: “If we are going to grow co-operative enterprise, take advantage of new spaces in the economy that beg for our approach to doing business, and meet the needs of more people at this critical moment, we must do it together.”
He added: “One of our most important assets is the co-operative identity or brand. Moving forward, we will need to be proactive in our defence of the co-op name and take a leadership role in the stewardship of co-operative legal statutes as we seek new opportunities for growth and development.”