The International Co-operative Alliance (the Alliance) Board has this week appointed Bruno Roelants as the new Director General. Mr Roelants will begin his new role in the coming weeks, succeeding Charles Gould who announced his decision to retire last year.
Bruno Roelants currently serves as Secretary General of CICOPA, the sectoral Organisation of the International Co-operative Alliance for industry and services – a role he has held since 2002. Under his leadership, membership of CICOPA increased from 18 countries in 2002 to 32 countries in 2018.
Roelants, who brings more than 30 years’ experience within the cooperative movement, will be the 16th Director General of the Alliance which was founded in 1895.
Commenting on the appointment, Ariel Guarco, who was elected President of the Alliance in November, said: “We are very happy to have reached a consensus and have been able to choose between people of very high level. We believe that Bruno Roelants is a highly trained person with a broad experience in the cooperative movement that will allow him to carry out and play an excellent role”.
In accepting the appointment Roelants said: “I am humbled by your decision to appoint me to this position, and I commit myself to serve you as a Board, and the wider cooperative movement, as well as I can possibly can. It is a big honour, but more importantly, I am filled with enthusiasm at taking up this new position, just when a new President and Board have been elected”. “I will need the help of all of you in the International Co-operative Alliance. As with the smallest cooperative, you don’t get anywhere without cooperating”.
The International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation is the insurance sectoral body for the Alliance and cooperative and mutual insurers when combined around the globe make up the largest industry sector within the cooperative movement. The mutual/cooperative insurance sector represented 41% of the global cooperative turnover in 2015 (Source: World Co-operative Monitor).
Speaking about the appointment of Roelants, Shaun Tarbuck, Chief Executive, ICMIF said: “I am delighted to see Bruno Roelants appointed to the role of Director General of the Alliance. His experience of the cooperative sector is vast with many years of dedicated service to the movement around the globe. I think he will bring a great deal to the work of the Alliance and help to move our sector forward even further than the recent gains – both economically and politically – of recent years.”
Tarbuck also reflected on many years of collaboration with the outgoing Director General Charles Gould, saying: “It has been a great pleasure to work with Charles over the years. We have seen the cooperative movement grow in strength and recognition over the years within local, national and international economies. The global cooperative and mutual movement contributes to many global issues and positions itself as a valuable leader for communities around the world. Our history is great and our successes are many and this is in no small part due to the work of Charles.”
The search committee made the selection from a very strong pool of women and men from every region of the world, and was supported in the task by a specialist global recruitment firm.
Roelants will succeed Charles Gould, who has been Director General of the Alliance since 2010, having worked with the board of directors on developing its Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade as well as increasing its influence within global policy-making bodies.
Commenting on his retirement, Gould said: “The past seven years with the Alliance have been extremely fulfilling. It has been a real privilege to work with such a great staff team, board and members. I’m now looking forward to continuing to support the cooperative movement from a distance especially at this time when it has so much to offer to the world.”