Lord Myners quits the Co-op Group

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THE Co-operative Group has been hit by another high level resignation, the former City minister Lord Myners.

He was brought in just four months ago but has quit the board over criticism of his plans to reform the group.

Some within the group fear his proposed changes could damage the Co-op’s values.

The move comes a month after the resignation of chief executive Euan Sutherland who said the group was “ungovernable”.

Lord Myners was appointed to the Co-op board in December and was chairing a governance review. His proposals included tearing up the existing boardroom structure, which includes members from regional boards, and replacing it with a plc-style model.

In draft proposals he said: “Unless the group takes urgent steps to reform its governance so that it generates sustainable economic value, it will run out of capital to support its business.”

He added: “The Co-operative Group suffers from acute systemic weaknesses in its governance framework that over many years have gravely damaged the organisation. These failings include a series of costly strategic misjudgments that have undermined the group’s competitive position and severely eroded its capital base.”

His recommendations included: the creation of a new group board made up of an independent chair with no previous association or involvement with the group; six to seven independent non-executive directors; and two executive directors.

This new smaller board would replace the existing elected board of 20, and would be responsible for all commercial and financial matters and would have full power and responsibility for the operation and management of the society.

Lord Myners was the financial services minister in Gordon Brown’s government from 2008-10 and he has previously been the chairman of Marks & Spencer, the Guardian Media Group and Land Securities.