The Co-operative Group announces terms of reference for independent review

16 January 2014

The Co-operative Group today (16 January) announces the Terms of Reference for the Independent Review of the Group’s governance. The Review is being led by Lord Myners, newly appointed Senior Independent Director.

Phase 1 of the Review will focus primarily on the development of recommendations for strengthening the Board structure, composition, working processes and Board policies. A Phase 1 report on findings and recommendations will be produced by April 2014.

In Phase 2 of the Review, expected to be completed in late 2014, recommendations will be developed for strengthening links with members, as well as with other customers of the Group and its employees. Phase 2 will also address the governance of the Group's relationships with affiliated bodies and representative organisations. 

Commenting on his aims for the Review, Lord Myners said:

“The advantages of mutuality can’t be taken for granted. They have to be earned every day through delivering outstanding value to all our existing members and to our wider customer base. We must also ensure that our employees, too, are fully engaged with our mutual goals and values. The Review is forward-looking and will complement Sir Christopher Kelly’s examination of events that led to the recent recapitalisation of The Co-operative Bank.  My recommendations will set out new standards and strengthen the governance of the Group in keeping with the best principles and practices of modern mutuality.”

“We will be taking views from a wide-range of people and engaging with Co-operators, including through more innovative channels, so as to capture as many ideas as we can in the tight timescale we have to work within.”

Lord Myners concluded:

“There is a significant prize ahead if the Group grasps this opportunity for change.  This will call for much greater transparency and individual accountability in the Group’s governance arrangements.  We must demonstrate the highest levels of integrity in our Board leadership and focus the Group’s energies on developing a winning customer offer.”

Ursula Lidbetter, Chair of The Co-operative Group, said:

“The independent Review that Lord Myners is leading will play an instrumental part in helping the Group move forward with distinction and confidence.  I look forward to his recommendations on ways to implement best in class structures and working practices fit for the Group’s scale and complexity and that will strengthen accountability to its membership and wider stakeholders.”

For further information contact:

The Co-operative Group

Russ Brady
Tel: 07880 784442

Tulchan Communications

Susanna Voyle
Jonathan Sibun
Tel: 020 7353 4200

Or go to

Notes to Editors:

The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest mutual business, owned by nearly eight million members.  It is the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer operating across the country with almost 2,800 local, convenience and medium-sized stores. 

Amongst its other wholly-owned businesses are the UK’s number one funeral services provider, the third largest pharmacy chain, a growing legal services operation and a major general insurer.

As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Group, which operates 4,500 outlets and employs approaching 90,000 people, is a recognised leader for its social goals and community-led programmes.

On 12 July 2012 The Co-operative Group and The Co-operative Bank announced an independent Review, chaired by Sir Christopher Kelly, into the events that led to the recent recapitalisation of the Bank.  The Kelly review is due to report later in the spring.