Co-op chair urges members to help continue momentum

Allan Leighton
Allan Leighton
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The chairman of the Co-operative Group has urged millions of its members to help maintain the mutual’s rebuild momentum.

Allan Leighton issued the rallying cry as members across the country receive their voting packs ahead of the Co-op’s annual general meeting on 21 May.

Mr Leighton said: “The Co-op is so much more than a commercial business, and whilst I’m greatly encouraged by our current trading performance, it’s essential that our wider Co-op difference also shines brightly once more.

“To do this we need to build engagement among our millions of members so that our purpose can be felt throughout communities across the UK.”

Members will have the opportunity to on a range of matters, including re-electing Richard Pennycook, CEO of the group, as an executive director. There will also be a vote on approving directors’ remuneration.

Earlier this month Mr Pennycook said he asked the board to slash his pay from £1.25m to £750,000 as the troubled mutual entered “calmer waters”.

He said: “We’ve been through a difficult period which was very intense and I hope members would regard my remuneration as having been appropriate for that time, but we’re now in calmer waters, we’re a different sort of organisation owned by its members.” Mr Leighton, a former Asda chief executive, said he would wave his £250,000 annual pay and donate it to the Co-operative Community Investment Foundation.