Guide: Our governance


Have you got the passion, skills and commitment we need to help drive the co-operative sector forward? Each year we are on the look out for talented candidates who will add their own unique skills to our Board of Directors.

The 2019 election cycle has been completed. We invited nominations from the Co-operative Development Bodies (CBD) category of membership as well as candidates for the Worker Co-op Council, with four seats available. The deadline for completing nomination forms expired on 15 April 2019. We had an uncontested election in the CDB category, with the voting window now closed for the Worker Co-op Council election (six candidates were put forward).

The election results from 2018 are below, with information on elected candidates available via the dropdown menus. A 2019 election cycle update will follow.

Eddie Thorn (first term, nominated by Scotmid, uncontested election, Consumer Retail Society (north and Scotland) category)

Eddie has been a Director of The Scottish Midland Co-operative Society (Scotmid) since 2014 and serves on the Audit Committee. He has considerable boardroom and committee experience and is Chair of CPP Seminars Scotland Limited and Finance Director of North West Carers Centre.

A Fellow of The Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland with a RBS Diploma in Credit, Eddie has a strong background in corporate banking at a senior level. With a strong sense of social responsibility, Eddie's experience also encompasses the setting up of social enterprises and merger of credit unions. 

Nick Matthews (re-elected, nominated by Heart of England Co-operative Society, uncontested election, Consumer Retail Society (midlands) category)

A committed and active co-operator, Nick has occupied the position of Chair on Co-operatives UK's Board since 2014. He has overseen a complete strategy cycle from development to implementation to the creation of a new strategy.

Nick has represented the UK movement at both a European and international level and is committed to Director inclusivity and the right level of Board oversight. Nick is a serving Director on the Boards of Heart of England Co-operative Society and West Midlands Co-operative Council.  

Emma Howard (first term, nominated by East of England Co-operative Society, contested election, Consumer Retail Society (south) category)

Emma was elected to the board of East of England Co-op in May 2015 amid a demanding period of fast-paced change. She has served on the Board’s ‘Ways of Working Group’ and is Vice-Chair of the Performance Review Committee.

Emma's involvement in co-ops began early as she worked her way up from the shop floor. She is a passionate believer in co-ops and the model's ability to provide smarter solutions to major issues of our time including care, educatuion and housing.

Phil Hartwell (first term, nominated by HF Holidays, uncontested election, Other Consumer Co-op category)

Phil has served on the Co-operatives UK Board of Directors for a number of years, occupying the seat allocated to the Consumer Retail Society (south) category before stepping down from East of England Co-operative's Board in 2018 due to the society's 12-year service rule.

Other past roles with East of England include Board Vice-President and Chair of the Audit Committee. Phil is also a Director of the transport co-operative Harwich Connexions.

Robin Fieth (first term, nominated by the Building Societies Association, contested election, Federal category)

Robin has been Chief Executive of the Building Societies Association since December 2013. Previously he was Executive Director, Members and Operations at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

Robin originally joined the ICAEW in 2002 as Director of Finance. During his career he has also held a number of other senior positions in the corporate sector, including Group Finance Director and Company Secretary at AIM listed Transacsys plc. He spent the first 10 years of his career at PwC.

Amber Vincent-Prior, nominated by The Southern Co-operative (Retail Consumer Co-operatives: The South) and Rosanna Donovan, nominated by the Association of British Credit Unions (Federals), were the two unsuccessful candidates.

Co-operatives UK's Board of Directors is elected by and from the members on a rolling three year cycle. Democracy is the lifeblood of co-operatives and we want as many of our members as possible to get involved in the election process, either standing as candidates, nominating candidates or voting for candidates.

There is no identikit for the perfect director. In fact, we want a real balance of skills and personalities to help take Co-operatives UK - and the wider sector - forward. Passionate about co-operatives with the skills and knowledge to make apositive impact, your candidate could be just the person we need...

The Board is drawn from different constituencies of members to provide a balance of experience and knowledge across the spectrum of membership. Our elections take place in the run up to our annual general meeting (AGM) and we operate a three year cycle for serving directors. The cycles are staggered so there is at least one board election each year. 

Click here or view the 'related resources' sidebar on the right of your screen for information and guidelines on the election process. 

Please ensure you read the guidance notes provided with the nominations form to ensure you meet each of the eligibility criteria before putting yourself forward for election to the Board.