THE proposed merger between West Midlands Co-op and Oxford, Swindon and Gloucester Society has cleared its final hurdle and will become a reality next month.
At a confirmatory meeting in Walsall, West Midlands Co-op members voted unanimously to adopt a necessary rule change needed for the merger to go ahead.
OSG members also voted overwhelmingly in favour of the merger at a series of meetings last month.
The new society – as yet unnamed – will become effective on 24 September, creating the UK's fourth largest co-op.
The new society will run 350 retail stores and a range of other businesses including motor sales, childcare nurseries, care homes and funeral homes. It will employ 7,000 people and have 180,000 members.
As previously announced, OSG Chief Executive Bob Burlton will head the new society initially before stepping down next year and handing over to West Midlands Chief Executive Ben Reid, who – from September 24 – will be Chief Executive Designate.
Meanwhile, plans to merge Ipswich & Norwich Co-op and Colchester & East Essex Society are well under way and the societies are expected to announce details of members' meetings shortly.
If this merger is approved, the new society will become Britain's fifth biggest co-op.