The Co-op Foundation – the charity arm of the Co-op Group – has appointed Nick Crofts as its new chief executive.
Mr Crofts, a co-operative advocate, activist and charity leader, will replace the outgoing head of the Foundation, Jim Cooke, who has led the organisation since 2016.
Mr Crofts has been president of the Group’s National Member’s Council for the past five years and is founder and current executive director of Aspire Liverpool, a charity that aims to help young people from Liverpool gain entry to Oxford and Cambridge universities.
“I am super excited to become CEO of the Co-op Foundation,” he said. “As the Co-op’s charity, the Foundation has built an extraordinary platform, helping people, changing lives and making things better in communities. It really is thrilling to have the opportunity to build on the Foundation’s success. I cannot wait to get started.”
The Foundation aims to “help disadvantaged communities overcome their challenges by putting co-operative values into practice”.
Mr Crofts is a Liverpool city councillor and former Co-op Party National Executive Committee member, and in April 2017 was named one of the UK’s ‘Top-Ten Inspirational Leaders’ in the NatWest LGBT Awards. He was chief of staff to former MP and schools minister Stephen Twigg, a trustee of the Co-operative Heritage Trust and Merseyside Law Centre and serves as deputy chair of the board of Liverpool-based social landlord Cobalt Housing.
Allan Leighton, chair of the Co-op Group, said: “Nick has been a key figure in the Co-op for more than a decade and a passionate advocate for co-operation. I’m delighted to see him join our charity as we work together to create a fairer future for all.”
He was also welcomed by Jamie Ward-Smith, chair of the Co-op Foundation. “As a long-term co-operator, Nick brings a passionate commitment and unique insight to the Foundation’s work and the broader co-operative movement,” he said.
“Nick’s considerable leadership skills, gained in the commercial, political and charitable sectors will enable us to step up and extend our work tackling inequality and investing in community resilience, building on the fantastic legacy left by Jim Cooke.”