The Co-operative Group’s new council has held its first meeting at its Angel Square head office in Manchester.
Formed from the organisation’s former regional boards, the council represents the membership as the guardian of the society’s values and principles. It elects councillors to the senate, which has a closer interaction with the main board.
Currently in a transitional stage, the council also includes chairs of the regional values and principles committees and representatives from the independent societies.
Group chief executive Richard Pennycook, guest speaker at the meeting, described measures to recover the Group’s position through 2014. These included the sales of non-core businesses to reduce debt, the agreement of a new Group purpose and the unveiling of core business programmes.
He said the council had a crucial role to play in creating a meaningful membership proposition and revitalising the Group brand.
The council also approved a number of governance measures, including the timetable and process for electing the inaugural council president and three vice-presidents. Nominations closed at the end of November and the council will elect the president and vice-presidents at its next meeting on 6 December.
In the interim, Bob Harber – former Group director from the south east region – chaired the meeting. Mr Harber said: “The council has a responsibility to lead change on behalf of our members. Our new governance arrangements place a great onus on the council to champion the co-operative agenda and ensure members’ voices are heard loud and clear throughout the Group.”