Retail societies elect new presidents

A round of spring elections has seen new presidents elected at several retail co-operatives. Central England Co-operative has elected Maria Lee, Scotmid has selected Harry Cairney and Channel Islands...

A round of spring elections has seen new presidents elected at several retail co-operatives.

Central England Co-operative has elected Maria Lee, Scotmid has selected Harry Cairney and Channel Islands Co-op has voted in Ben Shenton.

Ms Lee, who has had a long-standing involvement with the co-operative sector, is the first president of the enlarged Central England Co-operative following the society’s democratic reform, which introduced direct elections to the board. The society, the UK’s second-largest independent co-operative, was formed last year from a merger of Anglia and Midlands.

Ms Lee has served as a director for six years, as well as serving on a number of the society’s committees, and currently works in the charity sector following a career in education.

She said: “The past year has been one of significant change and achievement for the society and I am really looking forward to supporting its continued growth and success in my role as president. I believe I have a key role to play in leading the board towards our vision of becoming the UK’s best consumer co-operative society by making a difference to our members and our communities.”

She will be supported by Elaine Dean, chair of Co-operative Press, who has been appointed as vice-president for the coming year.

At Scotmid, Harry Cairney takes the place of Hollis Smallman, who died in February. Mr Cairney has been associated with Scotmid for 41 years and has been a board member since 1998. He was a member and then a director of Prestonpans Co-operative, and was elected onto Scotmid’s East Area Board in 1995, following the merger between the two societies. He served as vice-president from 2009 to 2013.

Mr Cairney said: “It is a huge honour to become president and to follow in the footsteps of Hollis. He has left a great legacy and I am determined to ensure that this society continues to go from strength to strength.”

Jim Watson was elected as vice-president following 40 years with the society as a member, and 13 as a director. He was a member of Carluke Co-operative and was elected to serve on Scotmid’s West Area Board in 1986, following the merger between the two societies.

At Channel Islands Co-op, former Jersey senator Ben Shenton steps up from the role of vice president. He was voted the replacement for Peter Roffey, who stepped down after five years as president.

Alexander Fearn, from Jersey, and Tanya Dorrity, from Guernsey, were chosen to fill the roles of joint vice-president, the first time the board has had two members occupy the position.

Chief executive Colin Macleod said: “We are incredibly grateful for the significant contribution Peter has made in five years as president.

In that time, the society’s turnover has increased significantly and our business interests have expanded. I’m delighted that he is staying on the board as a non-executive director. I’d also like to take this opportunity to welcome our former vice-president, Ben, to the role of president. I am very much looking forward to working more closely with him.”

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