Bob Cannell FCIPD

email: bob[at]
phone: 0787 030 4027


Bob is a strategic executive rooted by operational experience in Suma, a 120 member worker co-operative business and backed up by professional qualification.

I have 30 years practical experience of most business disciplines at most levels. My wide experience of the public, private and social economies,  in the UK and the rest of Europe,  is unusual.

Being the Personnel Officer for Suma I have unique practical experience of worker cooperative management.  I have the competence  to design solutions for the management and governance needs of specific users.

I accomplish specific projects and long term organisational change both at Suma and with clients.

Democratic management and governance are my specialist interests. I assist client organisations to improve their governance and management by applying cooperative principles.

I do extensive research on worker management, a subject which is seriously underdeveloped in the UK and hinders the growth of UK worker co-ops. I am a guest lecturer at business schools and I helped write the Cooperative UK Worker Cooperative Code of Governance, the official ‘How To’ management manual for the sector.

Nationally, I am regularly invited to run seminars and workshops about people coordination in worker managed business.


Include – Lembas, Sailboat, 8th Day, Wild Carrot, Beano, Third Sector Enterprises, Melmerby Village Shop, SLAM Community Development Trust, Bassetlaw CarShare, West Yorkshire Business Link, Solar Fires, Unicorn, Calderdale Community Transport, North Halifax Partnership, Resilient Enterprises, CECOP


Worker Cooperatives Council, Cooperatives UK, 2006 to date
Elected to represent employee owned businesses in Cooperatives UK. Led the writing of the first Worker Cooperative Code of Governance and Management.

Partner, Cooperative Business Consultants Ltd., 2002 to date
Governance, Management & People coordination support for social enterprises, cooperatives and employee owned businesses.

Member & Personnel Officer, Suma, W. Yorks, 1981 to date
We are a national distributor of specialist foods and a large worker co-operative. I have worked in most areas of the business and still get my work boots on. We are a national paradigm for democratic management practice (frequently asked to showcase our methods) and a very successful business.

I continue to be centrally involved in our people coordination (HR) at the operational and strategic levels. We have developed most of our HR processes from scratch and share them with other worker co-operatives.

Board Member, CECOP, the European Federation of Worker Cooperatives, Brussels,   2006  to date
Lobbying the EU for worker coop friendly legislation and coordinating worker cooperatives in the 25 EU member states and globally.

Executive Member, CICOPA, the World Federation of Worker Cooperatives, Brussels, 2009 to date

CECOP & CICOPA allow me to learn from the experiences of worker co-ops in other countries and cultures.

Trustee and Governor, Nab Wood Cooperative Trust Foundation School, Bradford. 2009 to date 

Board Member, European Federation for Employee Share Ownership, Brussels, 2005 to 2007
EFES promotes employee owned enterprise in the EU.

Director, Cooperatives UK Ltd.Manchester, 2002- 2003,  2009 to date
Represents all UK co-operatives.
Member of the Code of Governance working party.

Director and Chair, ICOM Ltd., Leeds, 1998- 2002
The former national association of worker co-operative businesses.
Merged to form Cooperatives UK as a single apex body for co-ops.

Director, Business Link Bradford & District, 1994- 1999
Chairman 1998- 1999

Chair of Economic Development, City of Bradford, 1993- 1998
Led the development of thefirst District Economic Strategy (which included one of the first Community Economic Development Units in the UK).

Non-executive Director, Bradford Health Authority, 1988 – 1992
Import of rational business planning principles.

City Councillor, Bradford, 1984-88 and 1990-1998
Ward councillor for two inner city multicultural wards. Much involvement in community development. Deputy chair of community association.


Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)
FCIPD is a postgraduate HR qualification. I am developing better management tools for worker co-ops in conjunction with academics at Cardiff, Sheffield and other Business Schools. I am a visiting lecturer at Warwick and Loughborough Business Schools.

My practical experience in Suma has revealed the need for a radical rethink of strategic management in a democratic setting. This is one area where worker owned democratic businesses cannot borrow tools from normal hierarchical organisations.

Post Graduate Certificate in Education, University of Leeds, 1981

Research Studentship, University of Bradford,  1978 – 1981
Economics  and Management

Environmental Biology BSc (Hons), University of Liverpool, 1977

One thought on “Bob Cannell FCIPD

  1. Pingback: Presenting issue versus real issue | rhizome

Comments are closed.