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Co-operative Group casts historic vote at AGM

The Co-operative Group said its members embraced the Society’s new One Member One Vote governance system when they voted at the organisation’s 2015 Annual General Meeting on Saturday.


Co-operative Group casts historic vote at AGM

The meeting was the first AGM to be held under the Society’s new governance rules, which were introduced following a vote in favour of reform at the Society’s Special General Meeting in August 2014.

At Saturday's meeting, it was announced that Hazel Blears, Paul Chandler and Ruth Spellman were elected by members to represent their interests on the group board. In addition, Simon Burke, was appointed as an independent non-executive director by the group board with effect from 15 May 2015. Meanwhile, Richard Pennycook, Sir Christopher Kelly and Allan Leighton were formally elected by members to the group board with immediate effect.

In addition, members voted to approve political expenditures of up to £1 million which support the movement's objectives, including the Co-operative Party. The Co-operative Group said the board needed to take all of the voting into account and “think carefully” about how to respond. It added: “In doing that we will consult with the Council, the independent societies and the Co-op party.”

The rule changes reflect amendments to clarify the rules which were put in place following the governance reforms in 2014. The amendments will only come into effect once they have been registered by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Allan Leighton, chairman of The Co-operative Group, said: “Today marks an historic moment for The Co-operative Group. For the first time in our history, ordinary Co-operative members have had a direct say on a range of motions, including who represents their interests in the boardroom.  We are re-connecting with the people that matter most, and we are determined to take this further by strengthening our links with all our members, as we revitalise this iconic business.

“We are at the start of a three-year rebuild programme.  We have put in place a turnaround strategy that will fix the basics and implement compelling commercial strategies in all of our businesses, to ensure we are in great shape for the long-term and that the mistakes of the recent past can never be repeated. At the heart of our rebuild will be our determination to make Co-operative membership more meaningful again and today marks the start of that exciting journey.“        

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