ICA president Ariel Guarco takes over as interim director general

The ICA is in the process of recruiting a director general, following the retirement of Bruno Roelants in February

The board of the International Cooperative Alliance has appointed its president Ariel Guarco as director general on an interim basis.

Guarco will be leading the organisation until the appointment of a new director general to replace Bruno Roelants, who retired after completing his five-year term of office in February.

Prior to joining the ICA as director general Roelants had served as secretary general of Cicopa, the International Organisation of Industrial and Service Cooperatives, for 16 years.

“We would like to thank Bruno Roelants for all his efforts over the past five years as ICA director general and 16 years as Secretary General of Cicopa, our sectorial organisation for co-operatives in industry and services. There is no doubt that he has made a significant contribution to the increased recognition of the strengths of the co-operative model around the world,” the ICA said in a statement.

In his own letter to ICA members, Roelants said he aimed to continue his journey with the co-operative movement in other roles. He thanked colleagues, board members and successive presidents from Cecop, Cicopa and the ICA, the staff of the ICA regional and sectoral organisations, thematic committees and working groups, Dotcoop and all ICA members for their support.

“Having maintained a trajectory coherent with my passion for co-operatives as a way to help solve our challenges for a more human and sustainable future has meant a great journey of learning and a constant source of strength,” he said. “I am thankful for having had the chance to work for the co-operative movement both at the grassroots level in local development, and at the international level in policy areas. 

“I will continue working on co-operatives in other roles, and hope to remain in contact with you in the future.”

The ICA board has appointed a recruitment consultant to assist in reviewing the job applications received. The ICA began a recruitment process to replace Roelants in January, saying it wanted “an inspirational, forward-thinking leader who is passionate about the ability of the co-operative and mutual sectors of the global economy to create positive change for people in the quality of their daily lives”.

The apex said it wants candidates with “strategic vision to help the organisation seek opportunities for membership growth and new sources of funding, while maintaining focus on economic and cultural trends to ensure its continuing relevance.”

Other sought-after qualities include relationship-building and facilitation skills and sensitivity to the cultural differences among ICA members.