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Co-operatives UK announces new Chief Executive

News item

12th October 2020
Last updated
4th November 2020
Co-operatives UK
Rose Marley

Rose Marley will be joining Co‑operatives UK as Chief Executive in January 2021. She joins the trade body for Britain’s co-operative sector at a crucial moment, when the economy is looking to ‘build back better’ from the impact of Covid-19.

The new appointment comes at a time when there is a real appetite for different ways of doing business, with co-ops and other forms of social enterprise well-placed in the post-Covid economy. Co-ops are resilient, with new co-op start-ups nearly twice as likely to survive the first crucial five years as other types of business.

Co-operatives UK is the network for Britain’s thousands of co-operatives – from high street retailers to community owned pubs, fan owned football clubs to farmer controlled businesses – together they are worth over £38 billion to the British economy.

With a strong background in creative industries, technology, the gig economy and entrepreneurship, Rose is a passionate advocate for social enterprise and values-led business.

She says: “I couldn’t be more excited about joining Co-operatives UK. There has never been a more important moment to harness the enthusiasm of a new generation for a fairer way of doing business.

“The co-op movement has always been about disrupting the status quo, encouraging people to take responsibility for themselves and others. In the past it was ensuring there was ‘no chalk in our flour’, now it is about digital platforms, or plastic in our environment or a gig economy that denies young people the stability and training they need to establish themselves in life.”

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We have a historic opportunity now to merge co-operative principles with digital technology to create the kind of sustainable, equitable platforms that society needs.
– Rose Marley

Rose continues: “Over the past 20 years as a social entrepreneur I have worked to increase social mobility, give our young people meaningful employment, a start, a chance in life. I look forward to bringing that same spirit and energy to enthusing the next generation of co-operators about the world-changing potential of the co-operative movement.”

Chair of Co-operatives UK Don Morris says: “We are delighted to have Rose on board. She brings a fresh approach to the challenges facing entrepreneurs, co-operatives, community business and social enterprise today.”

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In the same way that co-ops are often set up to disrupt mainstream business models – giving ownership and decision making powers to workers, customers and communities – we expect Rose to help us shake up the way that co-ops are perceived.
– Don Morris, Chair, Co-operatives UK

“Yes, they are best known as high street convenience stores. But they are also tech companies, arts venues, freelancers working collectively, innovators, activists and much more. We think Rose will fit right in!”

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