After years of service, Lowery steps down from ICA Board of Directors – O’Brien to fulfill remaining term


Martin Lowery, immediate past U.S. representative to the International Cooperative Alliance’s Board of Directors, speaks at an ICA event in 2020. [photo courtesy ICA] 
The International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) on February 29 appointed NCBA CLUSA president and CEO Doug O’Brien to the ICA Board of Directors as the alliance’s U.S. representative. If the appointment is ratified by the full ICA General Assembly in June, O’Brien will serve the remaining term of immediate past U.S. Representative Martin Lowery, who was elected in 2022 and recently stepped down from the board.

While serving on the ICA Board, among other leadership positions, Lowery chaired the ICA’s Principles Committee and served on its Membership Committee. He was also instrumental in ICA’s work around reexamining the cooperative values and principles as a member of the Cooperative Identity Advisory Group (CIAG), a group of 23 co-op thought leaders and practitioners who are leading the global consultation on cooperative identity.

In 2014, Lowery was inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame, the highest honor that the U.S. cooperative community bestows on individuals who have made heroic contributions to the cooperative movement. Among the highlights of his decades of service to the cooperative community, Lowery served in numerous leadership positions at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), including as its executive vice president. He served on the National Cooperative Bank (NCB)’s Board of Directors, including as NCB’s board chair. Lowery is also a former chair and was a longtime member of NCBA CLUSA’s Board of Directors.

“Martin’s service to co-ops in the U.S. and globally has been exemplar,” O’Brien said. “His thoughtful approach to navigating and leading so many different institutions in the cooperative ecosystem leaves a deep legacy—not only on so many cooperatives and cooperative associations, but also on countless cooperators throughout the world.”

As a member, NCBA CLUSA is proud to represent the U.S. cooperative movement before the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA). Founded in 1895, ICA is one of the world’s oldest non-governmental organizations. Representing 1 billion cooperative members, ICA provides a global voice and forum for knowledge, expertise and united action for and about cooperatives.

“I am excited to represent the U.S. cooperative community on the ICA Board,” O’Brien said. “As people around the globe face generational challenges related to climate, inequality, technology and democratic institutions, the work of ICA is as important as ever. I look forward to helping ICA realize its mission of advancing cooperatives around the world.”

With a seat on the ICA’s Board of Directors through 2026, NCBA CLUSA looks forward to continued close collaboration with the global apex body—especially with the 2025 International Year of Cooperatives on the horizon.

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