CO-OPERATIVE Group Chairman Keith Darwin has been elected unopposed as 2004 Congress President.
Mr Darwin, former Chief Executive of Lincoln Co-op, was the only nominee when the deadline for nominations closed and was duly appointed to the prestigious role by the board of Co-operatives UK at its December meeting.
It is the first time in recent years that there has not been a vote of sectional board members, but with Mr Darwin due to step down as the Co-op Group's Chairman in May to be succeeded by Oxford, Swindon & Gloucester Chief Executive Bob Burlton, the former Lincoln chief will be a popular choice to chair Congress at Old Trafford football stadium, Manchester, over the weekend of May 21st to 23rd.
Mr Darwin was nominated by six retail societies including the Co-operative Group and Lincoln.
Announcing the appointment, Pauline Green, Chief Executive and Secretary of Co-operatives UK, said that Mr Darwin was well placed to serve as President due to his knowledge and experience of the sector.
"Keith's understanding of the consumer Co-operative Movement alone would have made him well-suited to fulfil the role of President," said Dame Pauline.
"But his interest in, and support for, all other forms of co-operative and community involvement will ensure he is able to fully represent the wide range of co-operative enterprises now in membership of Co-operatives UK."
Mr Darwin commented: "I am honoured to have been nominated and elected to the position of Congress President. It marks the culmination of my career within the co-operative sector.
"As a lifelong co-operator I will be proud to represent the whole Co-operative Movement through this role. I believe the Co-op is a valuable institution in this country that brings together millions of people in businesses ranging from retailing, to banking, credit unions, housing and employee-owned organisations and it has a bright future."
Mr Darwin graduated from York University in Politics and Economics after which he joined the Co-operative College's management programme in 1966/67.
His first position within the Movement was with Plymouth Society before moving to Lincoln Co-op as Food Trades Officer. He became Chief Executive at Lincoln in 1992, a position he kept until his retirement in 2003.
A director of the Co-operative Group for 10 years, Mr Darwin is a JP and was awarded an OBE in the Millennium Honours list for services to education, business and the community. Between 1994 and 2002 he was chairman of the Lincolnshire Training and Enterprise Council.
In this article
- Bob Burlton
- British co-operative movement
- chief executive
- Chief Executive and Secretary
- CO-OPERATIVE Group
- Co-operatives UK
- Keith Darwin
- Lincoln Co
- Musselburgh and Fisherrow Co-operative Society
- Oxford, Swindon & Gloucester
- Pauline Green
- Social Issues
- The Co-operative brand
- The Co-operative Group