Co-operative Group further strengthens governance

April 07, 2016
  • Appointments to main board
  • Group executive changes
  • Changes to executive contracts

The Co-operative Group announces a number of changes at Board and Executive level, further strengthening governance and oversight and building on the reforms of 2015.

Co-op Group Board

Lord Victor Adebowale CBE and Ian Ellis

Lord Victor Adebowale CBE (left) and Ian Ellis (right)

The Board is delighted to announce the appointment of Lord Victor Adebowale CBE as an Independent Non-Executive Director, effective from 6 April 2016. Lord Adebowale is Chief Executive of Turning Point, the health and social care organisation that employs more than 3,500 people in the UK. He is also a Non-Executive Director of NHS England.

Ian Ellis, Group Chief Financial Officer, is also appointed to the Group Board with effect from 6 April 2016, taking up the previously vacant Executive position on the Board.

In accordance with the Group’s Rules, Lord Adebowale and Ian Ellis will put themselves forward for election by members at the Co-op AGM on 21 May 2016.

Co-op Group Executive

Lord Victor Adebowale CBE and Ian Ellis

Pippa Wicks

The Group is also today announcing changes at the Executive level with the permanent appointment of Pippa Wicks as Chief Operating Officer, a role she has held on an interim basis since 2014.

Executive Remuneration and Service Contracts

Following feedback from Members, the Remuneration Committee has agreed that in future anyone appointed to the Group Executive will have a six month notice period instead of the current twelve months. The existing members of the Group Executive have also been asked to make this change with effect from 1 July 2016 and this is currently being finalised.

This follows a previous decision by the Group Executive to voluntarily reduce their pension contributions from 16% of salary to 10% in order to bring them into line with less senior colleagues.

With the Rescue of the Co-op complete, and the Rebuild of the Group well under way, CEO Richard Pennycook has also requested that his remuneration package be reduced substantially. Following discussions, and with the full agreement of the Board, his maximum total remuneration will fall by nearly 60%. From 1 July this year Richard’s base pay will be cut from £1,250,000 to £750,000 and his long and short-term incentives will also be reduced so that they are in line with the reward available to the wider Enterprise Leader group of approximately 80 senior managers. As a consequence, Richard’s total remuneration will fall to a level well below the median for organisations of the scale and complexity of the Co-op.

Full details of Richard’s new remuneration package are in the annual report. Allan Leighton, the Co-op’s Non-Executive Chair, continues to donate his annual salary of £250,000 to The Co-operative Foundation.

Announcing the changes, Allan Leighton said:

“These are important changes that will further strengthen our governance and oversight on behalf of our members. I am delighted that we are attracting top talent at all levels of the Group to help us build on the great work that is being done to Rebuild the Co-op, and I warmly welcome Victor and Ian to the Board. The move by Richard to reduce his pay shows the Co-op difference in action, as we champion a better way to do business for our members and their communities.”

Media Enquiries:

The Co-operative Group
Jon Church
Tel: 07545 210812  
Russ Brady
Tel: 07880 784442

Tulchan Communications
Susanna Voyle
Jonathan Sibun
Tel: 020 7353 4200

Notes to editors

Biographies for new Appointees:

Lord Victor Adebowale CBE, Independent Non-Executive Director:

Victor is Chief Executive of Turning Point, a health and social care social enterprise providing services for people with complex needs including those affected by substance misuse, mental health issues, unemployment, housing issues, offending behaviour and those with a learning disability.  He is a Visiting Professor and Chancellor at the University of Lincoln; an associate member of the Health Service Management Centre at the University of Birmingham and of the Cambridge University Judge Business School.  He is also a Non-Executive Director of the London School of Economics, a Non-Executive Director of NHS England, President of the International Association of Philosophy and Psychiatry, and also a Non-Executive Director of IACOM Ltd and Leadership in Mind. 

Victor was awarded the CBE for services to the New Deal, the unemployed and homeless young people; he was appointed a cross bench member of the House of Lords in 2001.

Ian Ellis, Chief Finance Officer:

Ian joined the Co-op as Chief Finance Officer for the Group in 2015. He was previously CFO at Wilkos for nearly eight years and prior to that held a number of senior finance positions at Morrisons and Northern Foods Plc.

Pippa Wicks, Chief Operating Officer:

Pippa has been working with the Co-op since 2014 from the business consultants Alix Partners where she co-founded the firm’s European operations. and will continue as non-executive Chair of the UK turnaround and restructuring business. Prior to joining Alix Partners, she was CEO of FT Knowledge, a division of Pearson plc, Group CFO of Courtaulds Textiles plc and a senior manager with Bain & Company strategy consultants. Pippa’s responsibilities as COO include the Group’s Rebuild programme and IT.

View a full list of Board and Group Executive Directors.