THE Co-operative Group Board has announced the appointment of Moira Lees as Group Secretary with immediate affect.
Mrs Lees, who becomes the society’s first female Secretary in its 144-year history, has been Acting Secretary since the departure of Nick Eyre in May following the announcement of the new-look management team in the wake of the decision to merge United Co-operatives with the Group.
In her new role, Mrs Lees will be Secretary to the Group and to the CFS boards and will head the Group’s Secretariat Department which covers the governance, membership and legal functions.
Having joined the Co-operative Wholesale Society in 1981 as a Management Trainee, Mrs Lees became Assistant to the Secretary a year later.
In 1989 she became Assistant Secretary and in 1996 was appointed CWS Deputy Secretary, a post she continued to hold when the Co-operative Group was formed following the merger of CWS and CRS in 2000. A Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries, Mrs Lees has previously been a member of the Board of the Co-operative College and was a Vice-President of ICA Europe for four years.
Trading Group Chair Len Wardle told the News: “In appointing Moira as Group Secretary, the Board has chosen someone with an unparalleled knowledge of, and commitment to, the society’s governance and membership activities.
“We have also selected someone who has the drive and ability to carry through the current review of the society’s constitutional arrangements and to implement a world-class governance structure for the world’s largest consumer co-operative.”
Chief Executive Peter Marks said: “I would like to congratulate Moira on winning through such a thorough and rigorous selection process and wish her every success in her new role.
“In the months since Moira was appointed Acting Secretary she has made a valuable contribution to the management executive and I am confident that she will continue to do so in the future.”
Two other women prominent in the Movement have congratulated Moira Lees on her success.
Pauline Green, Chief Executive of Co-ops UK, said: “It’s great that someone with Moira’s vast experience and knowledge of the Movement has been appointed as Group Secretary. I am delighted she has been selected for this key role and, naturally, I wish her well.”
And Ursula Lidbetter, Chief Executive of Lincolnshire Co-op, told the News: ‘I’m very pleased to hear of Moira’s appointment. She has been part of the backbone of the society for many years and her rise to the top of her profession is well deserved. I’m sure she will be a passionate advocate for co-operative values and principles and a great role model for others.”