It was an extraordinary instance of the Board to appoint the new director general, among other issues. The former director of Cicopa, Bruno Roelants, was elected to the position. There was a great participation of members, including from the Gender and Youth Committees.

Ariel Guarco led his first Board session as president of the International Cooperative Alliance since he was elected on November 17 at the Assembly held in Kuala Lumpur.

“It has been a magnificent meeting, very proactive, with a lot of energy, contributions, commitment and participation. It was a double day that motivates us to continue working for this cooperative movement that we both want and defend,” he said after the session, this Friday in Brussels.

“We have partnerships with multilateral organizations, with which we work on global issues. That encourages us to be utopian while continuing to provide concrete answers to the real problems we face every day, putting the human being and the planet at the center of our goals. ”

About the challenges that the new Board must adress, Guarco said that it is necessary to make the voice of cooperativism heard and deepen the incidence on global issues. “We have a lot to say and a lot to show. We are a movement that thinks that the problems can be resolved collectively.”

“We need to build a sustainable world for the new generations, with more inclusive, fairer and more equitable societies”. Finally, he stressed that “cooperatives are companies with a double responsibility: being economically efficient and being socially responsible”.

The new director general, Bruno Roelants, was introduced in the meeting. He has more than thirty years of experience in the movement and worked until now as director of Cicopa, the sectorial organization of the Alliance for industrial and service cooperatives. Roelants replaces Charles Gould, who had announced his retirement last year.

“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”, said Guarco after the election of the new DG.

In accepting the appointment Mr 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 a new 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 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 the Global Recruitment Specialists firm.

Commenting on his retirement, Mr 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 co-operative movement from a distance especially at this time when it has so much to offer to the world.”

During his stay in the Belgian capital city, Guarco also met the president of the General Confederation of Agricultural Cooperatives in the European Union (Cocega), Thomas Magnusson. “We had an excellent meeting. We presented the Alliance, we share points of view on the European agricultural sector and we set the basis for future joint work. “

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