Edgar Parnell started his working life in a consumer co-operative in the north of England and subsequently held senior management posts within several UK co-operatives before becoming General Manager of the Co-operative Development Trust, Botswana, which established the nation’s first supermarkets and central wholesaling operations.

On returning to the UK he was appointed as a retail management consultant for Clarks Ltd and later held a similar position with the Co-operative Wholesale Society (UK). Next he became the Non-Food Retailing Manager covering co-operative stores throughout Scotland; then in 1974 adviser on co-operative management to the Government of Jamaica. Other appointments followed, including Manager for the Fund for the Research and Development of Africa and then UN/ILO adviser on management and marketing to co-operatives in India. In 1980 he was appointed as Education Officer at the Plunkett Foundation and thereafter served as Chief Executive from 1984 to 1998.

He has undertaken consultancy and training assignments for co-operatives both in the UK and in over 40 other countries. He also served as: a member of the General Assembly of the International Co-operative Alliance, co-chairman of the EU Committee for the Development of the Rural Economy of Poland, a member of the Council of the Federation of Agricultural Co-operatives (UK), chairman of the UK national Co-operative Development Agency, Education and Training Committee, and on various COGECA (the EU federation of agricultural co-operatives) working parties. Edgar Parnell is the author of many publications of which the best known is Reinventing the Cooperative - Enterprises for the 21st Century, which has been translated into several languages. Edgar is author of the Co-op Pundit blog http://www.co-oppundit.org/ and also uses the Twitter name @Co-opPundit.