First of all a big thank you for the many messages of congratulations and good wishes that I’ve received over the last couple of days. It’s wonderful to know I have your support as we move onto the next stage of our Co-op journey together.
It’s an enormous privilege for me to take on the leadership of this amazing and unique business and I thank Allan and the Board for the opportunity they’ve given me.
I’m so proud to be leading this team. You’ve all worked so hard to bring our Co-op out of those difficult years we all faced together. I’d especially like to say thanks to our customer facing colleagues in our stores and funeral homes and in our Insurance and legal services centres up and down the country. You’re all incredible people, full of passion and commitment and belief in what our Co-op stands for.
From Rebuild to Renew
So, we’re back on our feet again and feeling proud of who we are and what we stand for.
For 2017 we’re going to see through the strategy that’s already been set for the third and final year of Rebuild. All of our businesses will continue with their transformation and growth plans. And underpinning everything is our target to grow our Co-op Membership by a million new members, half of them new customers to the Co-op.
But as we move through the year, our thinking will turn to the Renew phase of our plans with a much longer and ambitious outlook.
Rod Bulmer is our Renew Director and he’ll be looking at lots of possibilities for our existing businesses as well as potential new markets where we can bring the Co-op difference and shake things up for the benefit of our members. And I’m certain it’s our members and their communities that will tell us where we can make that difference.
I’m excited about the next few years. We’re back on our game, we can lift our heads again. Through our products and services and through our work in local communities and the causes we campaign for, we can show that our Co-op is a business you can trust. A business where ethical responsibility and commercial success can go hand in hand.
I’m going to spend the next few weeks listening to what all of you have to say about where we are now and what we need to do to meet our ambitions. I want to get out and meet as many of you as possible, especially colleagues in Funeralcare , Insurance and Legal Services who I know less well.
I want to spend time getting to know you, your communities and your work in greater depth. It’s this breadth of the Co-op that makes us strong and creates so much potential for us in the years to come.
So I’m very confident about all of you! And because of that I’m confident about our future together and what we can achieve.
Thanks once again for your support. I’ll have more to say when I take up my new role on 1st March.