Lesley Reznicek is elected President of The Co-operative Council

December 09, 2014

The Co-operative Group today took a further important step to reform its governance with the appointment of a President and three Vice-Presidents to its newly formed Co-operative Council.

Lesley Reznicek (pictured) has been elected President of the Council, which was established in August this year after Co-operative members voted in favour of a series of reforms to the organisation’s governance structure. Robin Stewart, Tricia Davies and Jenny de Villiers have been elected as Vice-Presidents of the Council.

The Council is a crucial pillar of the Group’s new structure, designed to ensure that Co-operative members have a voice at the centre of the society’s governance. Comprised of 100 members, the Council has been created with the power to hold the Group Board to account and influence strategic and operational initiatives.

Lesley Reznicek from Gargrave, near Skipton, is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. She is a member of the North Regional Board.

Lesley Reznicek said:

“My family have been involved in co-operative democracy for over 100 years. It is, therefore, a real privilege that fellow councillors have shown great faith in a relative newcomer and elected me as the first President of the council.

“The council represents a new chapter in the development of co-operative democracy. It is an opportunity for both the business and the council to work together to ensure that our members are at the heart of everything that we do. The co-operative values and principles make us different to our competitors and they should be evident in all our decisions.”

Lesley Reznicek will be President until the full Council elections in 2015. If she remains a member of the Council following the elections she will be eligible to stand again for a two year term as President.


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