Lord Myners Review

The Myners Report (published 7 May 2014 )

Independent Governance Review

In December 2013 Lord Paul Myners was appointed to The Co-operative Group Board as Senior Independent Director. The Group Board has asked him to lead a comprehensive, independent review of the Group’s governance, aiming to create a co-operative which has best in class structures and working practices fit for its scale and complexity and able to demonstrate true accountability to its membership and wider stakeholders.

The independent review focused particularly on the effectiveness of the Group Board and ensuring the interests of the entire membership are properly served.

The report was published 7 May 2014 and provided a set of practical reforms intended to strengthen the Group's ability to recover from the traumatic shocks it had suffered in 2013 and help position it for renewed success.

The Myners report sets three specific reform objectives:

  • To produce a highly competent and qualified Group Board with independent non-executive directors who possess the skills and experience needed to exercise leadership and effective oversight of Executive management running a business of massive scale and complexity, quite unlike any other co-operative business in the UK. Unless the Group takes urgent steps to reform its governance and generate sustainable economic value, it will run out of capital to support its business. Value creation is the prerequisite for the organisation’s survival, for value distribution to members and for the furtherance of desired social goals
  • To ensure that, without compromising the effectiveness of the Group Board, genuine co-operative values and principles are protected and securely embedded in the future governance architecture
  • To ensure that as a customer-owned organisation, the tangible benefits of membership are not deliberately restricted to a tiny and potentially quite unrepresentative body of elected members, but are extended so that the interests of the entire membership are properly understood and promoted and their fundamental rights are respected

Commenting on the Report, Paul Myners said:

“The co-operative ownership model can – and often does – deliver powerful economic advantages. But its superiority over other forms of ownership is not inevitable and guaranteed. For a consumer co-operative, such as the Group, its advantages have to be earned, day by day, through delivering outstanding service and value for money to customers who, especially in food retailing, have plenty of choice where to spend their money.

“The reforms I have set out are fully compatible with the core values and principles of Co-operative ownership. I have no interest in advocating the adoption of a PLC model, as some of my critics have claimed. But I do want to see a governance structure that works; the present one has lamentably failed.