ICA General Assembly elects global board

Fifteen directors have been elected to the board of the International Co-operative Alliance.

Fifteen directors have been elected to the board of the International Co-operative Alliance.

At its General Assembly in Cape Town, the Alliance’s members took part in one of the highest-contested elections in recent times with 31 candidates standing for the board. Delegates from each of the four regions of the Alliance — Africa, Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe — were elected.

Dame Pauline Green from the United Kingdom was elected unopposed as the Alliance’s President. Likewise, the regional vice-presidents, who are all elected by their regional assemblies, were ratified. The Alliance’s vice-presidents are  Stanley Charles Muchire, Vice-President for Africa; Ramón Imperial Zúñiga, Vice-President for Americas; Li Chungseng, Vice-President for Asia-Pacific; and Dirk Lehnhoff, Vice-President for Europe.

At the start of proceedings, Hajah Armi Zainudin, Chair of the Election Committee, told the conference: “This year there are 31 candidates for the ‘at large’ board of directors. which is a large increase in the interest of delegates to stand for election. This is a very positive sign and shows that people recognise the ICA has been doing a great job.”

Representing the Alliance’s sectoral organisations on the board will be Kathy Bardswick, President and Chief Executive of The Co-operators and member of the insurance sector body ICMIF, and Jose Carlos Guisado, President of the International Health Cooperative Organisation. Both candidates were nominated by by the Sectoral Organisation Liaison Group.

The youth representative of the board is Gabriela Ana Buffa, who was nominated by Cooperar — the confederation of Argentina co-operatives — and has been the youth secretariat on the board of the Mobilizing Institute of Cooperative Funds.

Those elected to the board are:

Argentina: Dr Ariel Guarco Nominated by COOPERAR
He is also the President of the Federation of Electric and Public Services Cooperatives of the Province of Buenos Aires (FEDECOBA) and secretary of the Inter-federative Electric Cooperatives Confederation of Argentina (CONAICE) both since 2008. Since 2011 he holds the Presidency of the Cooperative Confederation of Argentina (COOPERAR).

Australia: Gregory Wall Nominated by Capricorn Society Limited
Group CEO of Capricorn a large Australian Cooperative and has extensive experience in the Mutual and Cooperative sector gained as a CEO and executive in Banking and Credit Unions.

Brazil: Dr Eudes de Freitas Aquino  Nominated by OCB
Since 2009 he has been the President of Unimed do Brasil, Vice President of IHCO and Board member of ACI Americas. In March 2013, he was re-elected president of Unimed do Brasil for four years.

Bulgaria: Petar Stefanov Nominated by Central Cooperative Union
Has been the President of Central Cooperative Union-Bulgaria since 2003. He is also an Executive Committee member of Consumer Co-operatives World, a board member on Co-operatives Europe and a member of the Co-operative House Europe Board.

Canada: Monique Leroux Nominated by Conseil canadien de la coopération et de la mutualité
Chair of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Desjardins Group since 2008. Ms. Leroux is currently a member of many boards of directors, working groups and cooperative organisations, e.g. the European Association of Co-operative Banks, the International Confederation of Popular Banks, Conseil québécois de la coopération et de la mutualité, the Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada, Crédit industriel et commercial of Crédit Mutuel

Finland: Anne Santamäki Nominated by SOK Corporation
From 2001 to 2010 Anne Santamäki acted as Vice-President of Cooperatives Europe. In 2010 was elected as President of Consumer Cooperatives World Wide (CCW). Since 2010, she has been a Board Member of International Co-operative Alliance (ICA).

France: Jean-Louis Bancel  Nominated by Coop FR
Chairman of Crédit Coopératif since 2009 (vice chairman from 2005 to 2009), Chairman of the International Cooperative Banking Association – a sectoral organisation of the International Cooperative Alliance – and member of the Accounting Standards Authority (ANC).

Italy: Carlo Scarzanella Nominated by Associazione Generale Cooperative Italiane
In the Alliance of Italian Cooperatives (ACI), he is President of the ACI sector organisation for cultural cooperatives and Co-President of ACI sector organisations for the tourism and for the publishing and communication cooperatives.

Japan: Akira Banzai Nominated by JA-Zenchu
Mr Akira Banzai is president of JA-Zenchu (Central Union of Agricultural Co- operatives), the apex organisation of agricultural co-operatives in Japan. Mr Banzai also chairs Japan Joint Committee of Co-operatives of 14 ICA members, representing wide range of sectors in consumer societies, agriculture, fishery, banking, mutual, health & welfare and workers with over 60 million people.

Korea: Won-Byung Choi   Nominated by NACF
Mr Won-Byung CHOI is the chairman of National Agricultural Cooperative Federation which is the apex organisation of 1,165 member cooperatives representing 2.5 million farmers in Korea.

Russia: Evgeny Kuznetsov  Nominated by Centrosojuz
During the years of his work as the head of system of the Centrosojuz of Russia, which includes more than 3 thousand consumer societies and about 4 millions individual members from different regions of Russia, Evgeny Kuznetsov assured the recognition of the consumer cooperation on the State governmental

Singapore: Seah Kian Peng Nominated by Singapore National Co-operative Federation
Mr Kian Peng, Chief Executive Officer of NTUC FairPrice Co-operative, which has a chain of over 270 stores comprising hypermarkets, supermarkets, premium markets, petrol marts and convenience stores. The NTUC FairPrice Co-operative employs over 8,500 staff with an annual turnover of over SGD 2.6 billion.

Sweden: Jan Anders Lago Nominated by HSB & KF
In his role as president of HSB, Sweden’s largest co-operative housing organisation with more than half a million members, he has, among other things, engaged in making more young people take part and to develop new co-operatives. The activities pursued by the Swedish Co-operative Centre in 25 countries are good examples of this meaningful way of making people grow together and make a difference and he is proud of being a member of the Board of SCC.

United Kingdom: Len Wardle Nominated by The Co-operative Group & Co-operatives UK
Chairman of the Co-operative Group, one of the largest consumer co- operatives, with over 7 million members in the UK and business interests in food, pharmacy, funerals, travel, banking, insurance and farming. As Chairman of the Group he oversees strategic direction of the businesses so that they fulfil co-operative principles, and adopt ethical values such as Fairtrade and responsible retailing.

USA: Martin Lowery Nominated by National Cooperative Business Association
Martin Lowery has been involved in cooperative organisations and activities for over 30 years. His immediate responsibilities from 1972 forward have been with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the trade association representing almost 1,000 electric cooperatives in the United States.

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