Co-op chairman Len Wardle quits over Flowers drugs claims

Len Wardle, chairman of Co-operative Group, has quit after the Co-operative Bank’s former chairman Paul Flowers was filmed apparently buying cocaine and crystal meth.

Deputy chair of the group Ursula Lidbetter is replacing Wardle with immediate effect.

Wardle, who was due to step down in May 2014, said in a statement: “The recent revelations about the behaviour of Paul Flowers, the former chair of the Co-operative Bank, have raised a number of serious questions for both the bank and the group.

“I led the board that appointed Paul Flowers to lead the bank board and under those circumstances I feel that it is right that I step down now, ahead of my planned retirement in May next year.

“I have already made it clear that I believe the time is right for real change in our operations and our governance and the board recently started a detailed review of our democracy. I hope that the group now takes the chance to put in place a new democratic structure so we can modernise in the interests of all our members.”

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