President: Monique Leroux (CA)
At the 2015 general assembly, in Antalya (Turkey), the members of the International Co-operative Alliance elected Monique F. Leroux (Canada) as their president for the 2015-2017 term.
Prior to being elected President of the International Co-operative Alliance, Ms. Leroux was Chair of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Desjardins Group, the leading co-operative financial group in Canada and the fifth strongest financial institution in the world. During her term, Desjardins Group has shown sustained growth reaching assets of $250 billion while remaining strongly committed to its co-operative values. Ms. Leroux also chaired the boards of directors of Caisse centrale Desjardins, Desjardins Financial Corporation and the Desjardins Foundation, in addition to her role as the chief executive officer of Desjardins Group and its subsidiaries. She also sits on the board of Crédit industriel et commercial (CIC), a subsidiary of Crédit Mutuel. Ms Leroux completed Desjardins' maximum of two consecutive terms as a president.
Earlier, as chair of the CQCM (Quebec association of cooperatives), Ms. Leroux launched an ambitious plan to grow the co-operative movement by 20,000 jobs by 2020. She also contributed to the creation of CMC (Canada), a large national co-operative association.
Ms Leroux also is a member of the executive committee of EACB and CIBP as well as founder and chair of the board of the International Summit of Cooperatives.
Ms. Leroux has received numerous honours, including the Order of Canada, the Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur (France), the Woodrow Wilson Award (United States), personality of Francophonie économique, and holds honorary doctorates from eight Canadian universities. She was recently inducted as a Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Directors for her outstanding leadership in business and governance. Also committed to public policy, Ms. Leroux is a member of the Canadian Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee and participates in the B20 and B7/G7.
Ms. Leroux supports a host of not-for-profit organisations and chairs the Desjardins Foundation committed to young people education. Read more about Ms Leroux' background and her programme for the Alliance on www.moniqueleroux.coop.
Vice-President (Asia and Pacific)
Jean-Louis Bancel (France)
Kathy Bardswick (Canada)
Ariel Guarco (Argentina)
Ben Reid (Great Britain)
A Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants Ben previously worked within the public sector, notably Health and Education, before entering the world of mutuality with Nottingham Building Society in 1980. Since then Mr. Reid has served the Co-operative Movement at the highest level in a number of roles including as the Chair of the Co-operatives UK, the apex body for all Co-operatives across the UK. His career in the movement started at Ilkeston Co-operative Society and then he moved onto the Leicestershire Co-operative Society, where he held senior positions, Ben eventually rose to the post of Chief Executive with the West Midlands Co-operative Society in 1992. Following a merger with Oxford Swindon & Gloucester Co-operative the Society was renamed The Midcounties Co-operative. In June 2010 Ben was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his ‘service to business and to the community in Walsall, West Midlands’.
Dimitry Zubov (Russia)
Mr Dimitry Zubov was nominated to the Alliance Board by the Central Union of Consumer Societies of the Russian Federation (Centrosojuz), of which he is currently chair. Mr Zubov holds a PhD in economics and created and managed the Soviet Union Center of Youth Housing Co-operatives. He worked as a deputy general director of the Soviet Union Center of Cinema and Television for Youth where he was actively engaged in the promotion of co-operative principles and values among youth.
Gregory Wall (Australia)
Mr. Stefanov has been President of the Central Co-operative Union since 2003. The Union has 162,000 co-operative members, 850 co-operatives and 34 regional co-operative unions. Mr. Stefanov is an active co-operative leader at the national level participating as a member of the Supervisory Board of Central Co-operative Bank, and Board of Directors of Coop Media. He is a Board member of Co-operatives Europe and also active in the sectoral organisations as a member of the Executive of Consumer Co-operatives Worldwide (CCW), a member of EURO Coop, a member of the Board of Co-operatives' House-Europe, and a member of the Supervisory Board of the Buying Alliance of Purchasing Association in Central Europe COOPEURO. In 2008, Mr. Stefanov received the Medal of the Republic of Bulgaria, "Civil Merits", for his contribution to the development and promotion of the values and institutions of the co-operative movement in Bulgaria over two decades of continuous business management.
Ms. Santamäki has been President of Euro Coop since 2006 and was elected the President of Consumer Co-operatives Worldwide (CCW) in November 2009. A member of the Executive Board of Co-operatives Europe and former Vice-President (2003-2006), she is also a Board member of SOK Association SOKL (Finland). Ms. Santamäki has been working with SOK Corporation in Helsinki, Finland, since 1990 where she is currently the Director of International Relations. Prior to this, she was responsible within SOK for sponsorship agreements and market awareness actions for the entire S Group, a leader in the retail market in Finland with a 42.4% market share. She has prior employment experience with the advertising agency Publicis, Finnish Railways and Nielsen. She has degrees in business and administration, and marketing management. Ms Santamäki was elected as one of the nominees of the sectoral organisations.
Won-Byung Choi was elected as Chairperson of the National Agricultural Co-operative Federation (NACF) of Korea on 27 December 2007. He began his co-operative career in 1972 when he joined the Angang Agricultural Co-operative in his hometown. In 1986 he was elected as the President of this co-operative and served six consecutive terms. He has also served as president of the NACF Rice Processing Complex Business Operation Council. His contributions to strengthening the Korean agricultural industry and in particular the rice industry were honoured by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in 1987 when he received the Meritorious Achievement Award. In 2000 he was further recognised by the President of Korea and received the Meritorious Achievement Award for outstanding performance in the rice business. Further in 2003 he was awarded the Suktop Industrial Medal. Mr Choi has also served as a member and Chairperson of the Gyeongsanhbuk-do Provincial Council where he was a leader in local politics. Mr Choi holds degrees in Fisheries Business Administration, a Bachelor of Science, and a Master of Business Administration.
Mr Seah is currently the Chief Executive Officer of NTUC Fairprice Co-operative of Singapore. NTUC FairPrice is a leading retailer in Singapore, running a chain of over 245 supermarkets, hypermarkets and convenience stores. Its turnover exceeds USD 1.6 billion and has a staff strength of over 7,000. In February 2003, Mr Seah was elected as a member of the ICA Asia-Pacific Board. Prior to his involvement in the co-operative movement, he has worked in both the public and private sectors and also serves in many public and community organisations. He was also the Chairman of the Singapore National Co-operative Federation (SNCF), the apex body representing the co-operative movement in Singapore, from 2002 to 2008. Mr Seah is serving his second ICA Board term.
Mr Yadav chairs the Uttar Pradesh Co-operative Federation in India, which is part of IFFCO, an agricultural co-operative that stretches across India and has over 39,000 local and regional co-operatives in membership.