Co-op shakes up management team and delays results

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The Independent Online

The beleaguered Co-operative Group has announced a major management shake-up which will see the acting chief executive, Richard Pennycook, take up the role of chief operating officer once a new chief executive is found.

The changes come in the wake of last week's resignation of the chief executive, Euan Sutherland, who had described the business as "ungovernable".

Mr Pennycook, a former finance director of Morrisons, said: "I am pleased to be announcing these changes to our management team, which mean we are better positioned to tackle the complex issues we face.

"We are focused on the hard work needed to complete the development of our new strategy. This is the right team to deliver that strategy in the interests of all our stakeholders – customers, colleagues and members."

He also announced that the group has put back publication of its full-year figures, which are expected to show losses of more than £2bn, from 26 March to 17 April. That is the latest date on which they can be published in time for the group's annual meeting a month later.

Among the management changes is the return of Rod Bulmer, former deputy chief executive of Co-op Bank, to a new role as chief executive of consumer services. Mr Bulmer, who only left last month, will have oversight of the Co-op's general insurance business, funeral services and legal services. He was heavily involved in the £1.5bn restructuring of the bank which saw hedge funds take control of it.

Mark Summerfield has been appointed managing director of the Co-op Bank, where he will oversee the work to cut it free from the wider group.

Last week the former City minister Lord Myners, the group's senior non-executive director, told the business that it had to reform or die, in a sharply critical report into the Co-operative's governance.

He also took aim at inexperience among the unwieldy corps of directors who have traditionally been elected from among the Co-operative's membership.

Proposals for reform now being drawn up will be put to a vote of members at a special general meeting later in the year.

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