Lord Myners, the man brought in to reform the troubled Co-operative Group, has resigned from its board as opposition to his proposals mount within the mutual.
Myners is thought to be staying on to complete his review of the changes needed at the group, which has been embroiled in scandal over the past year since it emerged its bank had a £1.5bn hole in its finances and its former chairman Reverend Paul Flowers was accused of taking Class A drugs.
However, there was overwhelming opposition for his plans to reform, which included replacing its existing boardroom with a more traditional, PLC-style board, The Guardian reported.
The largest independent Co-op, the Midcounties, voted on Monday night against the reform package.
Myners’ board resignation came hours after members of the Co-op decided to remove the three directors that approved former chief executive Euan Sutherland’s £6.6m pay packet from its board.
Sutherland resigned last month, after details of his pay were leaked to newspapers, and labelled the business “ungovernable”.
Myners had referred to the “bullying tactics” he had faced since joining The Co-operative Group’s board in December.
His review, which is understood to complete at the end of the month, is unlikely to be accepted by the regional boards and independent societies that run the organisation.
Myners is proposing scrapping the current boardroom structure which comprises 15 representatives from the regions, including a farmer, a university lecturer and a nurse, and five from the independent societies. The chair of the Co-op Group Ursula Lidbetter is from an independent society and runs the Lincolnshire Co-operative.
Myners believes that too many of The Co-op’s directors do not have serious business experience and were therefore not qualified to keep senior managers in check.
Under his proposals, members of the Co-op would no longer sit on the board but be represented by a members’ council.
However, opposition from the Midcounties Co-op and the seven regional boards that held meetings last weekend to raise concerns about the proposals have put Myners under pressure to rewrite his reform plans.
The Co-operative Group is expected to report losses of at least £2bn in its annual results next week.