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East of England Co-operative Society, Marketing Director

The East of England Co-operative Society is the largest independent, ethical retailer in East Anglia and is owned entirely by its' members.  The Co-op's range of business activities is diverse, including food stores, post offices, online electrical, travel, pharmacy, optical, funeral branches, petrol forecourts, an events and conference centre, as well as the Easier Living Mobility Centres. With over 200 trading outlets in more than 70 towns and villages across the region, the society is one of the largest cooperatives in the country, employing over 4,700 staff and generating a turnover of £350 million.


The brief

This appointment was for one of the 5 Executive team members with responsibility for Marketing, Membership and Media. The Executive team operate a collegiate leadership structure with no single CEO and instead, the Executive team have collective responsibility for leading the organisation. The structure of the organisation includes a lay Board of 16 members who were leading the recruitment. The successful candidate would need to be the right cultural fit and compliment the cohesive Executive team. Due to the structure of the organisation, Pure needed to ensure that full consideration and support was given to all 24 stakeholders throughout the process.

The process

We were searching for a candidate with the appropriate skills, ideally a connection to the region, experience of working with a membership organisation and empathy with community and charity work. We ran a campaign which included branded advertising, search and utilising our regional network for referrals. We identified a strong shortlist of individuals and we designed a selection process with the Chair of the Search and Remuneration committee involving a number of Board members and the Executive team.  

We attended each stage of the interviews which were designed to test candidates in a number of different ways. With so many stakeholders, we facilitated the wash-up sessions and helped the Board make a final decision which involved appointing Minnie Moll on a 4 day a week contract with flexibility built in which is something that the Board had never considered possible before.

The contract negotiations were some of the most forward thinking discussions Pure has advised on, resulting in the East of England Co-op achieving a strong leadership team.

With 24 stakeholders involved in this recruitment, the success of this assignment relied on clear, effective communication, careful project management and a well thought through assessment process.

Lynn Walters
Lynn Walters
Minnie Moll, Executive Officer, Membership, Marketing & Media, East of England Co-op

Lynn was a great listener, very perceptive and sensitive to the needs of all the stakeholders.

Minnie Moll, Executive Officer, Membership, Marketing & Media, East of England Co-op

The result

Minnie joined the Board in April 2014 and is a highly valued member of the Executive Leadership team by colleague, staff and Board members. To support her transition, particularly given the unique nature of working in a collegiate leadership team, Pure provided 5 individual transition coaching sessions that started just before she joined over the first 6 months of her employment.

  • Lynn was a great listener, very perceptive and sensitive to the needs of all the stakeholders. She helped to shape the process and ensure that all parties were aligned in terms of objectives. Lynn combines incredible professionalism with a very open and warm manner. I felt supported throughout the process and I know from feedback from the Board, that they valued Lynn’s experience and good counsel which helped create a smooth process for all concerned.

    - Minnie Moll, Executive Officer, Membership, Marketing & Media, East of England Co-op
  • Pure understood our unusual governance structure, which involved 16 Directors having an input in the appointment process. Lynn gave support throughout, brought us a good choice of candidates and clearly understood the market. It was very helpful to have Lynn’s flexibility and commitment to our timescales. I would be very happy to use Pure again for other posts.

    - Sally Chicken, HR Director, East of England Co-op