New Chairman elected at The Southern Co-operative

Michael Hastilow has been elected as the new Chairman of The Southern Co-operative (TSC).

Mr Hastilow previously held the role of Vice-Chairman, and replaces David Blowe who completed his term as a director at the AGM in June, having served on the Board for 23 years and as Chairman for 8 years.

Mr Hastilow will be joined by two newly-elected Vice-Chairmen, Tom Blair and Neil Blanchard, both of whom are experienced directors.

Chairman, Mike Hastilow

Chairman, Mike Hastilow

Mr Hastilow was elected to the Board in April 2005 and sits on TSC’s Remuneration and Appointments Committee, Chair’s Committee and is a Trustee of the Society’s Pension Scheme. Prior to his election as Chairman he also served on the Audit Committee but has relinquished this role in line with corporate governance best practice. Mr Hastilow is a Fellow of the Institute of Management and member of the Institute of Directors. In 2011 he was awarded the Advanced Diploma in Co-operative and Mutual Directorship from the Co-operative College. He has gained significant management and board experience during a career that has spanned the Royal Navy, catering and retail. Community responsibilities have included being a Group Scout Leader and Chairman of Governors of a large local secondary school and he is now a Deputy Launch Authority for the RNLI station at Portsmouth. He is also an active bee-keeper, supporting one of TSC’s environmental projects.

In relation to his election Mr Hastilow said: “I am honoured to have been elected to this position, and will endeavour, along with my fellow directors, to ensure that TSC continues to develop not only as one of the premier independent societies, but as a society based firmly and fairly on both colleague and member engagement.”

Mr Blanchard was elected to the Board in May 2009. He has 20 years’ experience in senior financial roles including internal audit and management accounts and is a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants. He is also a Member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators and holds an MBA in Corporate Management. In 2012 he was awarded the Advanced Diploma in Co-operation and Mutual Directorship from the Co-operative College. Mr Blanchard is Chair of TSC’s Audit Committee.

Neil Blanchard, Vice Chairman

Neil Blanchard, Vice Chairman

Mr Blair was elected to the Board in April 1997 and has a wealth of experience on the TSC Board. He is Chair of TSC’s Remuneration and Appointments Committee and also sits on the Audit Committee and Chair’s Committee. Now retired, Mr Blair was formerly a Health and Safety Consultant and also held the role of Lord Mayor of Portsmouth. He currently also serves as a Governor of a local secondary school and as a non-executive director of a charity offering advice on setting up business as a co-operative or mutual enterprise for the benefit of the community.

Tom Blair, Vice Chairman

Tom Blair, Vice Chairman

The Southern Co-operative is a successful, independent business owned by its 147,000 members with over 250 food stores and funeral branches across southern England and an online home shopping service, Co-operative Independent Living. Earlier this year TSC announced annual sales figures of £327 million, a rise of 7.8% on last year.