Paul joined the Co-op in 2016 as its Chief Financial Officer. He brought decades of experience in the investment management business, holding executive positions in organizations in both the U.S. and abroad. In 2018, he became Strategic Advisor to then-General Manager Ed Fox. When Ed moved on to another position in early 2020, the Co-op’s Board of Directors appointed Paul to be Interim General Manager while it prepared to conduct a formal search for a General Manager.
Paul took on the responsibility of heading the Co-op on March 8, 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic began to change everyone’s lives. Working closely with his leadership team, Paul faced unprecedented challenges with ease and grace and a clear vision for what needed to be done. He made his employees his first priority. He let them and the Board know of his dedication to keeping employees safe and fully informed as the pandemic unfolded. He quickly recognized and addressed the need to provide Co-op members and customers with a safe shopping experience, instituting new services such as curbside pickup for groceries, and ensuring appropriate sanitation and social distancing measures in all Co-op locations. At the same time, he worked to ensure the Co-op’s financial stability by arranging to refinance the cost of the Hanover store renovation and procure additional funds for needed infrastructure improvements in all locations.
In a recent communique to employees and Co-op members, Paul wrote, “We are experiencing an increase in total sales, items sold, gross margin, and basket size. All of this means our business is strong and nimble, in spite of the many challenges posed by the pandemic. I credit this to loyal members and shoppers, high-quality products and services, and the best employees in the business, bar none.” The Co-op’s board of directors, employees, members, and shoppers can also credit this to Paul’s dedication, professionalism, and management skills.
On September 3, Paul addressed the Co-op’s employees, recounting his resignation from his perspective. As he told them, when the Board asked him to stay on as General Manager, he presented the Board with 13 conditions necessary for him to accept the offer. We agreed to several of them immediately. Others had potential long-term consequences for the organization. Given our role as caretakers of the organization, we asked Paul for some time to consider these, but reaffirmed our wish and hope that he would accept our offer to become permanent General Manager. Paul declined.
Paul suggested there was turmoil at the Board level. While true that there have been recent changes in the Board’s composition, we believe the Board is stronger, more cohesive, and nimbler as a result of the changes. We have already undertaken our search for a new General Manager. Going forward, we will build on the changes that Paul instituted, and we believe they will continue to benefit us all.
We appreciate Paul’s time here, and we wish him well in whatever he tackles next.
Board of Directors
Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society