The Co-operative Group has appointed Mike Bracken as its new chief digital officer in charge of the society’s digital content and strategy. Mr Bracken has 20 years of experience in internet and social change and has spent the last five years helping the UK government with its digital transformation.
Since 2011 he has worked for the Cabinet Office as executive director of digital and, more recently, as the government’s first chief data officer, focusing on simplifying and speeding services on gov.uk and reshaping the government’s relationship with IT, redesigning services based on the needs of their users. Prior to joining the government’s digital team, he was director of digital development for the Guardian Media Group.
At the Co-operative Group he will place a strong emphasis on the organisation’s digital engagement with members. Mr Bracken will be looking at what membership means in the digital age, with the aim of supporting the Group’s purpose of “Championing a better way to do business for you and your communities”.
“There are many parallels between government and the Co-operative: The opportunity to work at scale, in a £10bn organisation; a chance to set a digital strategy and improve member experience; to work with inspiring colleagues all over the country; and to build strong businesses serving diverse audiences. It’s another fantastic challenge,” he wrote on his blog.
The chief digital officer is a new role within the society. Mr Bracken, who will join the Group in October, thinks delivering an improved digital experience for members will be fundamental to achieving the rebuild programme the society has embarked on.
“The co-operative movement is close to my heart,” he wrote. “The values and ethics of co-operatives are more relevant in society today than they have ever been and are highly congruent with the open internet. The Group has millions of members, and its 70,000-plus colleagues are some of the most committed and community-spirited I have met. The organisation, after some painful years, is in rebuild mode, and it is its digital strategy, focussed on its membership and people, that will define it in the next few years.”
As the Group’s chief digital officer, Mike Bracken plans to feed the organisation’s commitment to community engagement into the digital relationships it builds.
“There’s no reason why the Co-operative shouldn’t be able to move as fast and be as agile as any digital organisation – we will do that,” he added. “There are new opportunities to explore in the nascent ‘data economy’, in new services and platforms for co-operation – but they will be better and stronger because they will be infused with co-operative values.”
The Group’s new chief digital officer will report to chief executive Richard Pennycook and will sit on the Group executive committee. Commenting on the appointment, Mr Pennycook said: “Mike brings with him outstanding and ground-breaking industry experience and will make a major contribution to our long-term recovery. His appointment is another clear demonstration that we are attracting the best talent in Britain as we rebuild our business.”