The Co-operative Group Board has announced the appointment of four independent non-executive directors, who are taking up positions on its subsidiary boards.
The appointments follow a review of the Group’s governance which identified a role for independent directors and which last year established two subsidiary boards covering the food and specialist business operations reporting to the Group’s 20-strong main board. The board of the Group’s financial arm, Co-operative Financial Services, has included independent directors for a number of years.
The appointments to the food subsidiary board are: John Longworth, who is currently working in the commercial and marketing sectors within healthcare. He is a director of private equity, scientific and professional services firm, SVA, and a former board member of both Tesco and Asda. Mr Longworth spent eight years working for the Co-operative Group, latterly as Assistant Secretary and Head of Trade Affairs and is currently a Competition Commission panel member.
Euan Sutherland, Chief Executive of Kingfisher UK, who is responsible for the B&Q, Screw Fix and TradePoint operations and is also a member of the Kingfisher Group Executive. Mr Sutherland is a former Managing Director of Superdrug and has also held senior positions at Matalan and Currys.
The appointments to the specialist business subsidiary board are: Penny Coates, Managing Director of East Midlands Airport and a member of the Manchester Airport Group Board with group wide responsibility for Sustainability and Regional Airports. She brings manufacturing experience gained with Mars and Pepsico and extensive retail experience at senior level with Asda and Boots. Ms Coates is already an independent director of the mutual Melton Mowbray Building Society, a post she has held for six years.
Mike Cutt, who has held the post of Group Human Resources Director at Boots, B&Q and latterly Thomas Cook. He has also spent a considerable period of his career at the Nationwide Building Society, where he held senior HR and commercial posts. An experienced non-executive director, he currently serves in this capacity for United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust.
Co-operative Group Chair Len Wardle commented: “We are delighted to welcome these seasoned professionals who will bring to us a wealth of experience operating at very senior levels within some of the UK’s biggest and most well-known businesses.
“These four people were carefully selected from 400 people who wanted to join us and they were selected not only because of their experience from the industries in which they operate, but because they have an empathy with co-operative values. They will bring invaluable independent advice to the Group and its businesses as we continue to build on our successes as a major force in UK retailing.”