Ben Reid checks out of Co-op Group after vote for reforms

VETERAN Co-op Group board member Ben Reid announced his resignation yesterday, leaving the firm after a turbulent year and 14 years on the board in total.

The Co-op offered no comment on the move other than that Reid was stepping down, but people familiar with the situation suggested that Reid’s departure had long been on the cards, and that he had waited until the approval of the major reform plan for the organisation had been officially passed.

Reid is also chief executive of Co-op Midcounties, one of the group’s largest and most influential regional organisations.

This weekend, Co-op Group representatives unanimously backed the changes to the organisation, following the proposals of former Labour party City minister Lord Myners. In Myners’ plan the group’s smaller board would be made up of professionals rather than the current elected representatives.

Earlier this month, Myners was extremely critical of Reid’s position. While being quizzed by the MPs of the Treasury Select Committee, Myners said he found it “astonishing that Reid sits on the board”. Reid also sat on the Co-op Bank’s audit committee during a period in which the Co-op Bank’s attempt to snap up hundreds of Lloyds branches fell apart.

In March, chief executive Euan Sutherland dramatically split with the organisation, calling it an “ungovernable” institution. Sutherland worked at the group for less than 18 months.