New Co-ops UK chief vows to take a listening role

The new chief officer of Co-operatives UK, Ed Mayo, has promised to make listening to the views of other co-operators a key priority during his first few months...

Mr Mayo – who is to be known as the organisation’s Secretary General – took up his appointment last week after being selected to take over the key role vacated by Dame Pauline Green.

In an interview published in the latest issue of Co-operatives UK’s magazine, ‘Co-operatives,’ Mr Mayo – the former Chief Executive of the National Consumer Council and, later, Consumer Focus – admits: “I don’t start with answers. I need to listen and find out what is needed.

“Sometimes there will be conflicting priorities, but I want to encourage a dialogue and get to the core question of ‘what can we do to add value for members?’

“So my priority is going to be finding out what our members really want from us. We need to explore new options for the organisation and we need to equip Co-operatives UK with the tools to deliver for the Movement.”

The self-confessed ‘serial social entrepreneur’ says in the interview that – because of the impact of the credit crunch – the next five years are a time of tremendous opportunity for co-operatives.

“In the past, big business has been closed to radical thinking,” he says. “But with the crumbling of the foundations of how we structure markets, and with the challenge of climate change, we can argue that co-operatives are a major force for good – not only economically, but also as an exemplar of how to organise society and international affairs.

“It is not an easy commercial environment for any business, but I think we are seeing the emergence of a more ‘gentle economy’ and if we are innovative in our services, we can be central to this.”

Mr Mayo has been welcomed to Holyoake House by the Chair of Co-operatives UK, Ben Reid, who writes in the magazine: “ Ed’s dedication and passion for social justice is well known as is his support and commitment to co-operatives.

“These qualities will be a great asset to us as we continue to demonstrate the value of our better way of doing business and we look forward to working with Ed over the coming years.”

Mr Mayo can be contacted about Co-op issues via [email protected].

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