A former senior adviser to ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair has been named as the new General Secretary of the Co-operative Party to succeed Peter Hunt, who announced his decision to quit the post in February.
Michael Stephenson, currently Executive Director, Corporate Communications, with NESTA — the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts — was the unanimous choice of a six-strong Co-op Party selection panel which included Party chairman Gareth Thomas, former junior minister Stephen Twigg and Co-operative Group Chair Len Wardle.
Mr Thomas, Labour/Co-op MP for Harrow West and Minister for International Development and Business, told the News that Mr Stephenson, 45, has the experience, talent and ‘clout’ necessary to take the Party to the next level.
Said Mr Thomas: “It’s a great coup for us. We needed a big beast to fill the shoes of Peter Hunt, who did an excellent job for the Party during his years as General Secretary and we believe Michael is that person.
“He did a good job for the Labour Party when he was a Downing Street adviser and has the status and kudos to make a huge impact for the Party and the Movement.
“The competition Michael faced was very intense as a lot of really good people applied for the job, including many currently active in the Labour and Co-op movements. I’m sure Michael will become a first class General Secretary.”