Surprise as head of Co-op decides to retire

The boss of the Co-operative Group has surprised the City by announcing his retirement, weeks after buying 632 branches of Lloyds Banking Group in a transformational deal to boost its high street presence.

Peter Marks will step down next May, after a six-year spell at the helm, when he will be aged 63. He said he had been planning his retirement for some time, delayed an announcement because he did not want to jeopardise the Lloyds deal.

Marks, who joined the Co-operative from school to stack shelves 45 years ago, he still had mixed feelings about quitting. "It's a bit like hearing your mother-in-law has just driven over a cliff in your brand new," he added. His exit from the Manchester-based group means he will not be overseeing the Lloyds integration.

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