UPDATE 1-Co-operative group sets September deadline for reform

LONDON Thu May 29, 2014 1:38pm EDT

LONDON May 29 (Reuters) - Britain's Co-operative Group said on Thursday it had agreed a timetable to implement far-reaching reforms in order to avoid a repeat of its recent mistakes.

The 150-year-old company, which lost control of its bank and slumped to a 2.5 billion pound ($4.18 billion) loss last year, said it would consult with area committees, regional boards and independent societies, then present draft rules for approval to delegates in mid-August.

The proposed reforms include creating a new board led by an independent chairman, and non-executive directors with commercial experience on a par with the boards of its retail rivals.

An outline of the reforms has already been voted on by delegates at a special general meeting on May 17. The final version will be presented to delegates at a special general meeting in September and take effect as soon as approval is given.

The supermarkets-to-funerals group's problems stemed from an ill-fated 2009 takeover of the Britannia building society, which saddled it with a portfolio of risky property loans during the financial crisis. ($1 = 0.5982 British Pounds) (Reporting by Li-mei Hoang; Editing by Sophie Walker)

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