The furore over how The Co-op Group should reform has continued unabated over the past week after Lord Paul Myners quit and those in the movement went public with both criticism and support.
“Governance issues identified in 1958 have come back to haunt The Co-op”
Beth Brooks, deputy news editor
But if The Co-op had acted on a 1958 report, this could have been avoided. That report called for a “clear management structure” and warned “the quality of management in the future will largely determine whether the movement expands or stagnates”.
It’s not clear why the report wasn’t heeded, but it’s staggering that problems identified in 1958 and that could and should have been addressed then still haunt The Co-op 56 years later.
Although The Co-op has since expanded by acquiring companies such as Somerfield and Britannia, it has also stagnated because, as Myners notes, “the group board has spent far too much time on transactions… that have been breathtakingly value-destructive”.
The Co-op Group needs reform and an agreement needs to be reached on what form this should take - for the good of the whole movement.