The shambolic state of the Co-operative Group was laid bare in a scathing verdict warning that the survival of Britain's biggest mutual organisation was at stake
The Co-op has been undermined by "reckless" dealmaking, "shocking" levels of debt and governance standards far worse than even the banks before the credit crunch, according to Lord Myners, the group's senior independent director who was charged with overhauling the boardroom.
Myners said the Co-op had lost almost all the customers it picked up when it bought Somerfield in 2008 for £1.6bn. He said taking over the Britannia had almost bankrupted the Co-op bank and the attempted Lloyds deal, codenamed Project Verde, was misconceived: "Somerfield was reckless. Britannia was reckless. Verde was reckless."The Co-op bosses may not be the only guilty parties, With regard to the Co-op bank, what were the regulators doing, when the Britannia takeover was going through? And why was the Verde deal allowed to get as far as it did? And what action did the company's auditors take?