Financial News

  • 13 December 2013, 9:58

Lord Myners To Lead Review Of Co-Op Group

The Co-operative Group has appointed former Treasury minister Lord Myners to its board to lead a review of how the troubled customer-owned group is run.

Co-op has been rocked in recent months after the former chairman of its banking arm, Paul Flowers, was arrested as part of an investigation into the alleged supply of illegal drugs.

The Chancellor George Osborne has ordered an inquiry into the bank, while Prime Minister David Cameron has questioned why the Methodist preacher, with no banking qualifications, was judged suitable for the chairmanship during a period when the bank nearly collapsed.

It emerged in parliamentary hearings that Mr Flowers notched up just four years of relevant banking experience - and those were gained while working at NatWest†after leaving school more than 40 years ago.

A £1.5bn capital shortfall at the bank may result in it falling under the control of US hedge funds. Final approval for this will be on 18th December.†

Lord Paul†Myners, who was previously the Financial Services Minister in the Treasury and chairman of Marks & Spencer, said: "The Co-operative Group has a long and proud history at the heart of communities up and down Britain.

"Right now it faces serious challenges in terms of business performance and ensuring that the right governance is in place to deliver in the interests of all its members and customers."

He joins the Co-op board as a senior independent director and will chair its current governance review, which is looking into how the group and the board is run.

Ursula Lidbetter, the new chair of the Co-op Group, said: "Our rules allow for the appointment of independent non-executive directors to strengthen the elected board members, and now is the right time to make that move."

She added: "We have made it clear that we need to modernise and to embed the very best standards of corporate governance - while also ensuring that the voices of all our members and customers resonate through the business.

"Paul is ideally placed to oversee that work given his extensive experience across business and public life."

The Co-op said it was also looking to appoint two additional independent non-executive directors to its board.