Co-op Group - another shake-up at the top

It's all change at the top of the Co-operative as the group struggles to keep its head above water. Oh, and it's put back the announcement of its results by a month...

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 24 Mar 2014

It's hardly worth repeating that it's been a torrid few months for the Co-operative. To reiterate: £1.5bn capital shortfall, Crystal Methodist, chief exec resignation, very uncomplimentary review by Lord Myners, who was parachuted into the group's board in December to look into its governance.

Following that report by Myners, this morning the group made a brief but telling announcement: it's shaking up its executive team (which Myners said is suffering from 'disdain and lack of respect' from the Co-op's board). It's quite a list:

1. Retail CEO Steve Murrells will add 'property and estates' to his list of responsibilities, which currently includes food, pharmacy (which the group said last month it was considering selling off), farms (ditto) and e-stores.

2. Co-operative Bank deputy chief exec Rod Bulmer will become CEO of consumer services for the entire group, with responsibility for general insurance, funeralcare and legal services.

3. The group is creating the role of chief operating officer , overseeing finance/procurement, IT, risk and transformation deliver (and Co-op needs to deliver some transformation, stat). As yet, no one has been appointed to the role - for the time being, Richard Pennycook, the company’s beleaguered interim chief exec, will add that COO position to his ever-lengthening list of roles.

4. Mark Craig, director of Co-operative relations -  the man in charge of talking to members - will leave the group after more than 30 years in situ.

5. The Co-operative Banking Group has a new managing director: Mark Summerfield, currently managing director of the bank’s insurance division. In his new role, he’ll oversee both sides of the business. Lucky man.

Pennycook - the business leader MT would least like to be right now - reckons he’s cracked it. ‘This is the right team to deliver [our new] strategy in the interests of… customers, colleagues and members,’ he said.

To give them time to get used to their new jobs, he added that publication of Co-op’s annual results will be put back by three weeks, to April 17. Presumably he is hoping that the group will have something positive to announce by then. Fingers crossed...

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