Fifteen directors have been elected to the board of the International Co-operative Alliance.
At its General Assembly in Cape Town, the Alliance's members took part in one of the highest-contested elections in recent times with 31 candidates standing for the board. Delegates from each of the four regions of the Alliance — Africa, Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe — were elected.
Dame Pauline Green from the United Kingdom was elected unopposed as the Alliance's President. Likewise, the regional vice-presidents, who are all elected by their regional assemblies, were ratified. The Alliance's vice-presidents are Stanley Charles Muchire - Vice-President for Africa; Ramón Imperial Zúñiga – Vice-President for Americas; Li Chungseng Vice-President for Asia-Pacific; and Dirk Lenharrt Vice-President for Europe.
At the start of proceedings, Hajah Armi Zainudin, Chair of the Election Committee, told the conference: "This year there are 31 candidates for the 'at large' board of directors, which is a large increase in the interest of delegates to stand for election. This is a very positive sign and shows that people recognise the ICA has been doing a great job."
Representing the Alliance's sectoral organisations on the board will be Kathy Bardswick, President and Chief Executive of The Co-operators and member of the insurance sector body ICMIF, and Jose Carlos Guisado, President of the International Health Cooperative Organisation. Both candidates were nominated by the Sectoral Organisation Liaison Group.
The youth representative of the board is Gabriela Ana Buffa, who was nominated by Cooperar — the confederation of Argentina co-operatives — and has been the youth secretariat on the board of the Mobilizing Institute of Cooperative Funds.
Those elected to the board are:
Argentina: Dr Ariel Guarco, President of COOPERAR, Nominated by COOPERAR
Australia: Gregory Wall, Group CEO of Capricorn, Nominated by Capricorn Society Limited
Brazil: Dr Eudes de Freitas Aquino, President of Unimed do Brasil and Vice President of IHCO, Nominated by OCB
Bulgaria: Petar Stefanov, President of Central Cooperative Union-Bulgaria, Nominated by Central Cooperative Union
Canada: Monique Leroux, Chair of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Desjardins Group, Nominated by Conseil canadien de la coopération et de la mutualité
Finland: Anne Santamäki, President of Consumer Cooperatives World Wide, Nominated by SOK Corporation
France: Jean-Louis Bancel, Chairman of Crédit Coopératif and the International Cooperative Banking Association, Nominated by Coop FR
Italy: Carlo Scarzanella, President of the ACI sector organisation for cultural co-operatives and Co-President of ACI sector organisations for the tourism and for the publishing and communication cooperatives, Nominated by Associazione Generale Cooperative Italiane
Japan: Akira Banzai, president of JA-Zenchu (Central Union of Agricultural Co- operatives), the apex organisation of agricultural co-operatives in Japan, Nominated by JA-Zenchu
Korea: Won-Byung Choi, chairman of National Agricultural Cooperative Federation, ￼Nominated by NACF
Russia: Evgeny KuznetsovBoard Chairman of the Centrosojuz of Russia,￼ Nominated by Centrosojuz
Singapore: Seah Kian Peng, Chief Executive Officer of NTUC FairPrice Co-operative, Nominated by Singapore National Co-operative Federation
Sweden: Jan Anders Lago, president of HSB, Sweden’s largest co-operative housing organisation, Nominated by HSB & KF
United Kingdom: Len Wardle, Chairman of the Co-operative Group, one of the largest consumer co-operatives, Nominated by The Co-operative Group & Co-operatives UK
USA: Martin Lowery, the Executive Vice President of National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Nominated by National Cooperative Business Association
Photo: ICA's newly-elected board.