April 9 Lord Paul Myners has quit the board of
Britain's troubled Co-operative Group Ltd just a week
before the 170-year-old mutually owned-group is scheduled to
post a 2 billion pound ($3.35 billion) loss, The Guardian
reported late Wednesday.
Myners, who was independent director on the board, had been
facing criticism for his proposed restructuring of the board.
Co-operative Group declined to comment to Reuters. (link.reuters.com/sug48v)
Myners, a former government minister, warned in March that
the group would run out of capital to support its businesses if
a smaller board with the skills to hold executives to account is
Myners said the organisation needed a chair with no previous
connection or involvement with the organisation.
He called for the board to be cut down to six to seven
independent non-executive directors in charge of all commercial
and financial matters instead of the current 20-member elected
board, and said no independent societies should sit on it.
The Co-op's board is elected from regional boards and
independent Co-operative Societies, and is entirely
non-executive, meaning no director is involved in day-to-day
Euan Sutherland quit as chief executive in March after less
than a year in the position, saying it was impossible to reform
the company it unless directors adopted a more commercial
Myners's departure follows that of three directors who were
removed from the board for approving a 6.6 million pounds
two-year pay packet for Sutherland.
The largest independent co-operative society, the
Midcounties, said on Tuesday that it would not support the
reform proposals drawn up by Myners.
The Co-op Group, which includes food shops and funeral
parlours and a stake in Co-op Bank, has been hit by a succession
of scandals. Regulators found a 1.5 billion pound ($2.5 billion)
capital hole at its banking arm which eventually led the group
to lose control of that business, and the bank's former chairman
was arrested in an investigation into the supply of illegal
The Co-op's annual meeting is slated for May 17, at which
members would hear details of the group's strategy review.
($1 = 0.5971 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Aashika Jain in Bangalore; Editing by Leslie