An Accountant by profession Ben Reid has spent the majority of his career working in the mutual and co-operative world.
Since 1980 and his employment with the Nottingham Building Society, Ben has served the Co-operative Movement at the highest level in a number of roles, and is now Group Chief Executive of the Midcounties Co-operative, employing over 9,000 staff and with an annual turnover of over £1 billion. Ben’s inclusive style of leadership and commitment to the lasting values of mutuality has made him much in demand by organisations where the ethics of service and social responsibility are paramount.
Ben has always been a staunch supporter of working together to build a stronger co-operative economy. In that capacity he Chaired Co-operatives UK (the UK’s national Co-operative Federal) during a period of reform and growth. At the same time he was also Regional Chair of the UK’s Business in the Community, and the Regional Learning & Skills Council, where he helped drive significant improvements in educational attainment levels and major investment in new college facilities.
His commitment to his local community in Walsall is underlined by the leading role he played in establishing the Walsall Regeneration Company, which has acted as a catalyst for a number of significant developments in the Town, and also as Chair of the Manor Hospital where his passion for the improvement of healthcare in the Town was underpinned by the opening of a new hospital in 2010. Ben’s leadership has been nationally recognised, particularly in 2004 when he was named Business Leader of the Year, and then in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2010 when he was awarded an OBE for his ‘service to business and to the community in Walsall, West Midlands’.
Midcounties Co-operative is regarded as the most diverse, innovative and democratically engaged consumer co-operative in the UK. Ben has taken four of his local community businesses ie: Energy, Childcare, Travel and Flexible Benefits to a national level, gaining great recognition and acclaim for growing co-operative business, and particularly for breaking into the highly competitive energy sector.
Internationally he has worked with other co-operative energy providers to build a network across the world. He took Midcounties Co-operative into the global movement by becoming one of the first investors in the Global Development Impact Fund. In 2012, as part of the commitment to the international Year of Co-operatives, he gifted the Dot Coop business to the International Co-operative Alliance.
Ben is a regular speaker at European and Global co-operative events. In the European Parliament he spoke to a group of MEPs in a meeting on the role of Co-operatives and community energy within Europe. This was in the run up to the UN climate change talks. He then spoke in Paris at the COP21 conference on the role of Community energy in delivering further renewable energy as part of the COP21 carbon reduction program. When Midcounties was awarded the Sustainable Energy Europe Award for 2015, Ben took the opportunity to speak about the role of community energy, the role of Co-op renewable energy and democracy in energy. At the International Summit in Quebec in 2014 Ben spoke on Affordable Energy and Economic Development. Ben Reid is also a member of the Alliance Co-operative Roundtable, established to bring the voice of significant primary co-operatives into the implementation of the Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade.
A father of three children, Ben has also been an active participant in fund-raising ventures, both here and overseas, invariably related to the welfare of children and young people. As well as his professional work and wider co-operative commitment, Ben also finds time to chair a local charity ‘Fair for You Ltd’ that develops innovative lending solutions to low income households. He Chairs the Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust that is responsible for the provision of care within Walsall both in the hospital and community sector. He is also a Director of the University of Wolverhampton.
Ben Reid is a committed and engaged co-operator believing in the Principles and Values of the movement. He has a rounded career experience in many sectors in which co-operatives play a vital role from health to education, retailing to financial inclusion and energy to childcare.
Ben was honoured by the British Travel & Hospitality Hall of Fame in 2017.