Co-Op Names Former Treasury Minister Myners to Lead Review

Co-Operative Group Ltd. named former British Treasury Minister Paul Myners to lead the board’s governance review two months after the 150 year-old mutual ceded control of its banking unit amid a capital shortfall.

Myners, 65, who sits in the Parliament’s House of Lords and previously helped conduct a governance review of mutuals for the Treasury, will join the group’s board as a senior independent director, the Manchester, England-based company said in a statement today. The review will examine how the board is elected and chaired, according to the statement.

Co-Op Group, whose businesses range from supermarkets to funeral parlors, said it would review its governance structure after Paul Flowers, the former chairman of its banking unit, was alleged by the Mail on Sunday newspaper to have bought illegal drugs, sparking a regulatory probe. The company was forced in October to give up control of Co-Operative Bank Plc to help plug a 1.5 billion-pound ($2.5 billion) capital hole at the division.

Myners “brings significant and valuable experience across a number of fields and will be a great asset as we work through the final stages of the recapitalization of the bank,” Co-Op Group Chief Executive Euan Sutherland said in the statement. “We have already started to make real progress on the important work of rebuilding the group, having stabilized the bank.”

‘Highly Confident’

The company said in a separate statement today that it’s “highly confident” in the success of its recapitalization plan after 99.9 percent of the holders of its undated junior debt approved it last month. Holders of dated debt are scheduled to vote on the plan on Dec. 16, before a court hearing two days later, according to the statement.

The debt-for-equity swap is being led by a group of investors including Canyon Capital Advisors LLC and Silver Point Capital LP, which hold about 48 percent of the notes subject to the exchange.

Today’s announcement is the latest example of firms hiring executives with some government experience. Lloyds Banking Group Plc, Britain’s largest mortgage lender, on Dec. 2 named Norman Blackwell, a lawmaker in the House of Lords and former policy adviser to Prime Minister John Major, as chairman.

Myners, a former chairman of Marks & Spencer Group Plc, Britain’s largest clothing retailer, remains non-executive chairman of Cevian Capital AB, a Stockholm-based hedge fund, according to the statement. He was previously a director at NM Rothschild & Sons Ltd. until 1985, when he became CEO of Gartmore Investment Management Ltd. before joining National Westminster Bank Plc, which was later acquired by RBS.

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