Healthy Co-op Creating Healthy Communities

18 May 2019

At its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Exchange Hall, Manchester Central today (Saturday 18 May) Co-op announced its return to the healthcare sector to address the urgent need for improved physical and mental wellbeing in society.

Its move back into health starts with a Co-op Health app which will make ordering repeat prescriptions easier and more efficient for the NHS, whilst giving people direct control over their health needs, through its unique integration with the NHS.

Co-op also strengthened its safer colleagues safer communities proposition, partnering with anti-knife crime organisation, Steel Warriors, who recycle the steel from confiscated weapons, to create free gyms, enhancing and creating new community spaces.

Co-op looks to kick-start a new generation of co-operation by linking commercial innovation and growth to strengthening local communities, reminiscent of the approach adopted by the original Rochdale Pioneers 175 years ago.

The AGM saw Allan Leighton re-elected. He said: “We are a nation deeply divided over Brexit. A nation facing immense challenges on many fronts. It’s obvious to anyone that we need a different kind of thinking if we’re to find a way through the troubled times in which we find ourselves.”

Ian Ellis retired as Chief Finance Officer and Executive Director at meeting. He will be replaced by Shirine Khoury-Haq who will join the Co-op this summer as its new Chief Financial Officer and will become a member of The Co-op Board.

The results of the voting can be found here

Results for the election of Member Nominated Directors

Paul Chandler - Elected
Sarah McCarthy-Fry - Elected
Gareth Thomas - Not elected


The Co-op
Jon Church
Tel: 07545 210812
Sarah Fitton
Tel: 07702 506126

Notes to Editors:

About the Co-op:

The Co-op is one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives with interests across food, funerals, insurance, legal services and health. It has a clear purpose of championing a better way of doing business for you and your communities. Owned by millions of UK consumers, the Co-op operates 2,600 food stores, over 1,000 funeral homes and it provides products to over 5,100 other stores, including those run by independent co-operative societies and through its wholesale business, Nisa Retail Limited. It has more than 63,000 colleagues and an annual revenue of over £10 billion.

Newly elected and re-elected directors’ biographies

Independent Non-Executive Directors

Allan Leighton

Allan has held a series of high-profile roles including chief executive of Asda from 1996 to 2000 and non-executive chairman of Royal Mail from 2002 to 2009. Allan is currently chairman of Entertainment One Ltd, Canal and River Trust, Element Technology and Allbright, the all womens club and a NED of the Restaurant Group Plc.

Sir Christopher Kelly

Chris chaired Co-op’s independent review, which considered the events leading up to the re-capitalisation plan for The Co-operative Bank plc in 2013.He currently chairs the Kings Fund (the health and social care think tank), the Oversight Board of the Office for Budget Responsibility and is a trustee of the Canal and River Trust.

Previous roles include: chairing the Committee on Standards in Public Life, the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board, the Financial Ombudsman Service, and the NSPCC. For many years, he was a senior public servant, mostly in HM Treasury but latterly as permanent secretary of the Department of Health.

Rahul Powar

Rahul is the founder and chief executive of Redsift, an organisation that provides an open platform to deliver products that prevent cyber-attacks. Prior to Redsift, he founded Apsmart, which was acquired by Thomson Reuters Corporation in 2012. At Thomson Reuters, he served as the head of advanced products and innovation. In a previous life, he was part of the founding team and the principal technical architect of Shazam. Before the launch of the iTunes AppStore, he envisioned and created the first Shazam iPhone app.

Member Nominated Directors

Paul Chandler

Paul was the Chief Executive of Traidcraft from 2001 to 2013, and President of the European Fair Trade Association from 2005 to 2012. Drawing on his fair trade experience and early career in Barclays Bank, he is now focusing on promoting responsible practices in business, alongside a portfolio of charity and community focused roles.

Paul is Chair of the William Leech Foundation and Durham Cathedral Council, a director of Shared Interest and he is also the Vice Chair, Treasurer and a Fellow of St Chad’s College in Durham University, Vice Chair of the County Durham Community Foundation and a Trustee of the Bible Society.

Sarah McCarthy-Fry

As a committed co-operator for over 25 years, Sarah has previously served as a local Councillor and as a Labour Co-operative MP, representing Portsmouth North. Drawing on her parliamentary experience in HM Treasury and the Department for Children, Schools and Families, Sarah has also been at the forefront of developing a government -led apprenticeship programme. She is currently a Finance Director at GKN, a global engineering business and Chair of the Employment and Skills Board for the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.