Ed Mayo has announced his decision to leave sector body Co-operatives UK after more than 10 years as secretary general.
He has been appointed chief executive at Pilotlight, a London-based charity which connects businesses and charities to make them both more effective.
Mr Mayo took the helm of Co-operatives UK, the national umbrella organisation for co-ops and mutuals, when predecessor Dame Pauline Green stood down in 2010. During the past decade, he has led the creation of the sector-wide National Co-operative Development Strategy, established the £1.3m co-op support programme The Hive and hosted celebrations as part of the International Year of Co-operatives.
He has also been credited as a steadying hand when some UK co-ops hit difficulties.
Nick Matthews, chair of Co-operatives UK, said: “On behalf of the board and our hundreds of members, I’d like to express my gratitude to Ed for his hard work and commitment to the co-operative movement, both here in the UK and internationally.
“He is an exceptional co-operator, steering the organisation through some turbulent times a few years ago, with a real focus on innovation, collaboration and growth of the sector.”
Mr Mayo said: “I have been truly blessed to work with such a committed group of people across the UK and feel that I am leaving the organisation in good hands, as I take on a new challenge.
“I look forward to the next chapter of Co-operatives UK’s 150-year-long story and invite you all to celebrate our collective achievements at our public facing Festival of Co-operation and Co-op of the Year Awards in Rochdale this June.”
On his new appointment, Mr Mayo added: “No one makes more of a difference to communities than the voluntary sector, yet small charities at the heart of this are under more stress than ever.
“I look forward to working with the individual and business members, the trustees and the staff team of Pilotlight, who together make up an extraordinary community of purpose.”