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Top speakers include Minister for Agriculture, Canadian Ambassador, US Department of Agriculture Sociologist, Director of Corporate Enforcement, FBD CEO and others

ICOS and The Plunkett Institute put spotlight on Better Compliance, Better Strategy, Better Communications for Co-operatives.

The identification of new strategies and operational practices to enhance corporate governance in support of future developments by Irish co-operatives will be addressed at the 40th ICOS National Conference in the Convention Centre Dublin on Tuesday, 8th November next. To register, see https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/icos-national-conference-2016-tickets-28216541435 for details.

The conference features a top line-up of Irish and international speakers including Agriculture Minister Michael Creed, T.D.; The Canadian Ambassador, Kevin Vickers; US Department of Agriculture Rural Sociologist, Tom Gray;  Corporate Enforcement Director Ian Drennan and FBD CEO Fiona Muldoon, among other top speakers.

Irish co-operatives operate in an intensely competitive, volatile and globalised marketplace.  As the sector pursues further expansion opportunities and also copes with continuing fallout from the Brexit decision, it must continue to promote a strategic vision and clear leadership in the interests of co-operative members. Strategy formulation, corporate governance, compliance and communications are key factors and responsibilities which Co-operative Board members need to be aware of as the leaders of their industry.

The 40th ICOS National Conference is being held in conjunction with The Plunkett Institute for Co-operative Governance, which is dedicated to the establishment and best practice of co-operative governance in Ireland. The Institute’s principal focus is on the elected members of Boards of ICOS co-operatives, and Board officers. In addition to keynote speakers, the following themes will be addressed in 3 panel discussions.  A full speaker list (including panellists) is appended separately to this release.

Better Compliance  – The Board members of agricultural and rural co-operatives need to be fully familiar with their corporate responsibilities as directors. This panel will highlight the context and challenges for directors in fulfilling their duties and adhering to the laws that govern their sectors.  Chaired by Dearbhail McDonald, Group Business Editor of Independent News and Media, it will be addressed by John McStay of McStay Luby (specialising in Corporate Recovery, Insolvency and Forensic Accounting) and panellists will include Ian Drennan, Director of Corporate Enforcement; James Doyle, Legal & Governance Executive, ICOS and Michael Parsons, Director, Kilkenny Co-operative Livestock Mart

Better Strategy – This strand of the conference will explore what a strategy actually is and the components necessary for an effective strategy to be created. It will cover case studies of companies or organisations where strategy did or didn’t work, including the technical elements of a strategy and the importance of Board participation in strategy planning and development. Chaired by Vincent Wall, Business Editor of Newstalk, it will be addressed by Professor Pat Gibbons, UCD Smurfit School of Business and panellists will include Gerard Brickley, CEO, Bandon Co-operative Society; Dr Pat Enright, University College Cork; Pat Maher, Director, Centenary Thurles Co-operative Society and Fiona Muldoon, CEO, FBD

Better Communications – The profile of agricultural and rural co-operatives has changed greatly in Ireland in recent years including several amalgamations and restructurings. This panel will explore the role of communications as a key element of strategy including change management and the maintenance of stakeholder loyalty and participation in the co-operative. Chaired by public affairs expert Gerard Howlin, it will be addressed by Tom Gray, Rural Sociologist, USDA with panellists including Alan Jagoe, President, CEJA – European Young Farmers Organisation; James Graham, CEO, Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society and Liam Herlihy, Former Chairman, Glanbia

ICOS CEO, TJ Flanagan said, “Co-operatives operate in an increasingly competitive market environment. It’s essential that they have strategies in place to help them to achieve their desired market position, backed up by implementation plans which drive their business growth for the long term sustainable benefit of their members.  Board members of co-operatives are dedicated people who have a very significant contribution to make in the corporate direction of their business. This requires knowledge and awareness of best practice corporate governance principles including compliance and communications as a catalyst for co-operative success, and these are the specific issues which the ICOS National Conference will address.”

ICOS represents over 130 co-operatives in Ireland – including the Irish dairy processing co-operatives and livestock marts – whose associated businesses have a combined turnover in the region of €14 billion, with some 150,000 individual members, employing 12,000 people in Ireland, and a further 24,000 people overseas.

As well as being of direct relevance and interest to co-operative directors, management and members,  ICOS is inviting other senior agri-sector interests to attend this strategic National Conference with registration details available from ICOS directly at (01) 676 4783, ciara.pelly@icos.ie and on the ICOS website www.icos.ie

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