As a co-operative, the Group is jointly owned by over six million individual members and in the region of 80 Independent Co-operative Societies. We are in business to serve them and their communities, and our business is run for their benefit. We listen to member opinions and integrate these into our business activities and our social and campaigning agenda. Our pioneering involvement in Fairtrade and combating climate change reflects the values
of our members and their desire to build a better future for themselves, their families, their communities and the wider world.
Individual members of the Group exercise democratic control by serving on its area committees and seven Regional Boards, or by voting in elections, attending twice yearly members meetings held throughout the country or participating in other consultation initiatives.
Our profits are shared with each member, in proportion to how much they trade with us over the year. Our member democracy model offers individuals the opportunity to play a direct role in the future development of the Group. Members may stand for election to their area committees; area committee members in turn are elected to Regional Boards and ultimately to the Group Board.
Your area committee is made up of elected members from your community. Area committee members represent you, your concerns and suggestions – from how our businesses can be improved to how we can help local communities.
The seven regional boards bring together representatives from their region’s area committees. Each regional board helps us manage our businesses in their region by approving spending in order to open new stores and improving existing ones, and supervising the strategy for how we help that region’s local communities. Regional board representatives are elected by area committee members to sit on our national board.
The Group board
The Group Board is entirely non-executive, and consists of 20 directors, fifteen of whom are elected from our Regional Boards while the remaining five are elected from Independent Co-operative Societies. Each year one-third of Board members are required to seek re-election. Three Subsidiary Boards are responsible for our major business units – Co-operative Food, The Co-operative Banking Group and Co-operative Specialist Businesses.
The Group Board is responsible for the long term success of the Group by:
- Ensuring that the Group’s affairs are conducted and managed in accordance with its purpose and objectives, the best interests of the
Group and those of its individual and Independent Society Members
- Determining the vision and strategy of the Group in consultation with the Group Chief Executive and the Executive
- Overseeing the Group Chief Executive and the Executive in the day to day
management of the Group
- Monitoring performance against key financial and non-financial indicators
- Overseeing the Group’s risk management systems
- Setting standards in governance matters
The Group Chair, Len Wardle, is elected from the Group Board and is a non-executive director of the business. He leads the Board in determining strategy and objectives. The Group Chief Executive is appointed by the Group Board and has direct responsibility for the Group on a day to day basis. The Group Chief Executive implements the agreed strategic objectives and is accountable to the Board for the financial and operational performance of the Group.
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