Ariel Guarco from Argentina has been elected President of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA). The election took place at the International Co-operative Alliance’s General Assembly - a biennial event - held this year in Malaysia.
From a total of 691 total votes, Mr Guarco received 671. He said: “It is a tremendous honour to be elected president of the Alliance. Our movement includes one billion people across the world. The Alliance needs to be the lighthouse that guides them.
"The global context requires us to go out on the pitch wearing the co-operative shirt and confront warmongering, speculators and those controlling the economy, who are taking humanity on a road without return, with our coherence, trajectory, and diversity."
A full new board was elected at the General Assembly with Ben Reid, nominated by Midcounties Co-operative and supported by Co-operatives UK, one of the successful candidates.
Mr Guarco is president of Cooperar, the Co-operative Confederation of Argentina, and has been a board member of the Alliance since 2013. Cooperar works with 67 co-operative federations, 5,000 co-operatives, and 10 million members.
He said: "Co-operatives are enterprises that have a double function, on the one hand they must be economically viable, compete in the market and do it as good or better than enterprises that seek profitability as the ultimate goal. And on the other hand, they need to be socially responsible, helping to improve the quality of life of our members and faithful to our principle of commitment to the community, to society as a whole."
He says his priorities at the Alliance will be to strengthen the interactions between its regional and sectoral organisations, as well as consolidating youth and gender spaces. He also wants to improve the quality and quantity of information given to members on income, balance sheets, and projects.
Mr Guarco takes over from Monique Leroux, who has led the Alliance since 2015. She said: “It was my great privilege to spend the past four years working with a devoted and committed board of directors that feels so strongly about advancing co-operative businesses.
"The Alliance is certainly in a decent position to continue moving towards objectives that, ultimately, will help make our world a better place."
The Alliance’s Global Conference and General Assembly brought together more than 1,800 co-operators from around the world to discuss the role of the sector in placing people at the centre of development. Keynote speakers included sustainable development pioneer and former Prime Minister of Norway, Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, and economist Linda Yueh.