Co-op needs a calm boss taking home a modest wage
Outlook The Co-op board's reaction to Euan Sutherland's resignation should have been simple: "OK. Bye then."
For all his admittedly hard work over the past year, Mr Sutherland has behaved with a petulance and flounce in the past 48 hours that surely made him unsuitable to run this organisation. First, he accepts a £3.6m pay package to run what remains a hugely loss-making organisation. Second, he throws a Facebook fit when outraged board members leak the figure to the media – blaming the leaker for his embarrassment rather than the pay itself. (A Co-op spokeswoman sourly refutes my description of that message as a "flounce", but it certainly looked like one to the outside world.) Third, he resigns while the electronic ink is still not dry on his rant at the "disaffected" board members seeking to undermine him.
Some insiders were telling the BBC yesterday that his resignation was a "back me or sack me" message to the board. It certainly galvanised them into rushing through the sensible boardroom restructuring proposals of Lord Myners.
Judging from the leaks to the Beeb, it looks like some elements in the organisation wanted to go grovelling to Mr Sutherland, begging him to reconsider. This would have been a mistake. He will never recover the backing of the membership for his monster pay packet, and will always be remembered as the man who blamed the whistleblower.
Now that the Co-op has a plan for a workable executive structure, it should not be too difficult to bring in a new chief – with an unflappable temperament and for less money – to lead the movement in its next phase. This should be a conservatively run organisation of level-headed folk with expertise in rescuing badly-run businesses and looking out for the long-term health and prosperity of its members and customers. If it isn't that, it hasn't got a chance.
Richard Pennycook, the stand-in, is well regarded and will be an effective interim (possibly permanent?) boss – but only if he keeps a lid on boardroom pay. The last thing members want to read in a year's time is that he got a giant raise beyond his current £1.8m for stepping into the breach.
As for Mr Sutherland, departing with a likely £1.5m, let him earn his crust behind the closed doors of the private equity world. The Co-op's vulture funds will know some good contacts there.
Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax
- 1 Shia LaBeouf claims he was raped during #IAMSORRY art installation performance
- 2 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Sean Abbott: Messages of support flood in for bowler after death of Phil Hughes
Plebgate: Andrew Mitchell’s reputation in tatters as judge rules he used the word ‘pleb’
Dr Lam Hoe Yeoh: Voyeur doctor jailed for eight years after using network of hidden cameras to film patients, colleagues and friends on the toilet
Kim Jong-un 'in dire need of allies' within his own government as younger sister appointed to senior role
Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
Sarah Vine criticises lesbian mother Jack Monroe: 'If she was unsure about her sexuality, she should have taken greater precautions'
iJobs Money & Business
£Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: Prestigious asset management house seeks a...
£Negotiable: Citifocus Ltd: This is a varied role focusing on the firm's mutua...
£90000 - £140000 per annum + benefits: h2 Recruit Ltd: Are you a high achievin...
£25000 - £37000 per annum + benefits: h2 Recruit Ltd: Are you seeking to furth...