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Pennycook named chief of Co-op

RICHARD PENNYCOOK has been confirmed as chief executive of the Co-operative Group, after spending 15 months in a number of key roles at the embattled mutual.

Pennycook, one of the UK’s most experienced finance chiefs, joined the Co-op as FD in June 2013 before being appointed COO. He has also been serving as interim chief executive.

Chair Ursula Lidbetter said Pennycook had done a “first class job” leading the executive under challenging conditions.

“Last week we secured the overwhelming approval of our members for far-reaching governance reform. We are now moving forward with the work to bring to life the new structure,” said Lidbetter.

“We have seen the first-class job that Richard has done over the last six months, in challenging circumstances, leading a strong executive team. He has a commitment to co-operative values and principles and has built a strong rapport with our members. We are clear that he is the right person to continue the process of rebuilding the group.”

Pennycook said: “We have taken major steps forward over the last six months, securing governance reform and repairing our balance sheet, but we have much to do to return the group to full financial health and improve the performance of our businesses. I lead a talented executive team that has started this vital process and together we will continue our work to restore the group to its rightful place at the heart of communities. With our members’ continued help and the ongoing support of our customers and colleagues, I am confident that the Co-operative Group has a strong and exciting future ahead of it.”

Pennycook, awarded Lifetime Achievement Award at Financial Director’s inaugural Business Finance Awards in 2013, he has headed up several major finance divisions. He served as FD of Morrisons for eight years, where he was credited with winning back the trust of the City in the business. He also served at RAC and JD Wetherspoons as finance chief.

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