The Co-operative Group Announces The Appointment of Sir Christopher Kelly and Simon Burke To The Group Board

14 November 2014

The Co-operative Group today announces the appointment to its Board of two Independent Non-Executive Directors – Sir Christopher Kelly and Simon Burke - with immediate effect. The appointments reflect changes agreed to the composition of the Group Board as part of its constitutional reforms.

Sir Christopher Kelly is appointed Senior Independent Non-Executive Director. This is the first of the new Independent Non-Executive Director appointments for the Board. He will join the Group Board with immediate effect and assist in recruiting the new Board which is expected to be fully operational by May 2015.

Sir Christopher is well known to the Society having chaired the independent review which considered the events leading up to the re-capitalisation plan for The Co-operative Bank plc in 2013. Prior to this he was a senior public servant for many years and brings to this new role extensive experience including financial and public policy.  He currently chairs the King’s Fund and the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board and previously chaired the Committee on Standards in Public Life, the Financial Ombudsman Service and the NSPCC. He has also been a senior official in HM Treasury and was permanent secretary of the Department of Health.

Simon Burke will join the Transitional Group Board as an Independent Non-Executive Director for the transitional period (ending May 2015), having previously been an Independent Non-Executive Director of the Group’s principal subsidiary, Co-operative Food Holdings Ltd. 

Simon is currently also a Non-Executive Director for The BBC and was previously Chair of both BathStore and Hobbycraft. 

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

“We are delighted to be able to strengthen our Board with the appointment of Sir Christopher Kelly and Simon Burke as Independent Non-Executive directors, both of whom have already made significant contributions to The Co-operative Group and fully understand the challenges and opportunities we face.

“Sir Christopher’s recent report into The Co-operative Bank was detailed and incisive and was instrumental in helping us move on by learning from the mistakes of the past. His deep experience of finance, public policy and governance mean that he is ideally suited to the new role of Senior Independent Non-Executive Director. Simon likewise has a rich understanding and appreciation of The Group following his time on The Food Board and his extensive business acumen and experience will be a major asset for the main Board. We are confident that these appointments, along with others that are currently under consideration, will help us to rebuild The Co-operative Group and restore it to its rightful place at the heart of communities across the UK.”


The Co-operative Group

Russ Brady / Therese O’Donnell
Tel: 07880 784442 / 07738 622866 

Tulchan Communications

Susanna Voyle / Jonathan Sibun
Tel: 020 7353 4200

Notes to Editors:

The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest co-operative business, whose purpose is “Championing a better way of doing business for you and your communities.” Owned by over eight million members, The Co-operative Group operates a total of 4,500 outlets, with over 70,000 employees and has an annual turnover of £11 billion with interests across food, funerals, insurance and legal services.

* Following overwhelming agreement from members at the AGM in August, The Co-operative Group is implementing significant Governance Reform, the main components of which are: 

  • A Board composed of a majority of Independent Directors including; an Independent Chair, five Independent Non-Executive Directors, two Executive Directors, including the Group Chief Executive and three Member Nominated Directors
    • All Board Directors will be expected to meet the high standards of competence commensurate with the needs of a business of the scale and complexity of the Group and a demonstrated commitment to Co-operative Values and Principles
  • A transitional Board structure which has seen.
    • The Board reduced from 18 to 9
    • Recruitment of the new Board members begin
    • The interim transitional Board structure remain in place until the earlier of the new Board members being recruited or the Society’s Annual General Meeting in 2015.
  • A Council to represent members and to act as guardian of the Group’s Purpose, Values and Principles and the Society’s Constitution, with the power to hold the Group Board to account
    • The Council will be composed of a maximum of 100 Members
    • The Council will be led by a President, elected for a term of two years
  • A Senate, elected by the Council, to help co-ordinate the activities of the Council and to act as a nexus for interactions between the Council, the Board, the Executive and members