An audacious bid to gain places on Nisa-Today's board by the rebels who brought down last year's proposed merger with Costcutter was left in tatters this week as members voted firmly in favour of candidates loyal to the executive.
Leading lights in the Nisa Members Association - Mark Proudfoot, Ian Hunt, Anjum Khan and Karnal Sekhon - all missed out on election.
Nisa's non-executive chairman Raj Chatha and deputy chairman Stephen Jempson were both re-elected. Meanwhile retailers Atul Amin, Peter Bellini, Paul Delves, Mohammad Saleem and Jas Sunner joined wholesalers Prakesh Thakrar and Mark Windebank as new appointments to the board.
Following the election at this week's agm in Scunthorpe, Nisa-Today's chief executive Neil Turton said the time for politics was over and members should now get down to business.
A record number of members had voted this year, with turnout believed to be 70%, he said, adding that the vote for the successful candidates had been emphatic. "We had a very good agm and it felt like we were getting back to the Nisa of old," said Turton. "This is a member-owned company and a healthy level of debate is welcome. But sometimes recently it has gone above that right level. Members said they were fed up with the divisions and rivalries."
Harry Tuffins MD Paul Delves added: "Hopefully we can put all of the past 18 months behind us now," he said.
"We need to focus on achieving greater volumes going through Nisa and improve member discipline in terms of buying centrally. This is what suppliers want and how we can generate better prices."
Former NMA treasurer Ian Hunt pledged to support the new team. "We would like to wish Raj and his new board good luck," he said.
Tension has been rife within Nisa-Today's for 18 months. This came to a head last October over NMA allegations of cartel behaviour between Nisa and Costcutter. These charges were rejected by the OFT but were enough to scupper the merger. An NMA meeting next week will dissolve the association.a turning point
Nisa-Today's chief executive Neil Turton said he expected a busy few months as the group bedded in a new board and he worked to develop strategies for Nisa's future.
The first priority would be to brief the seven new member directors who are set to join the board as a result of this week's agm, as well as two new independent non-executives set to join in January, he said. He was also finalising a business plan for next year that he would present to the board in March.
Turton admitted to being pleased with the agm and said the outcome had been positive. "Things are already more relaxed," he said. "This agm has been a turning point and a critical one for me if I am to be able to implement my plans for the future."