The Grocer magazine has revealed its Power List for 2016, with co-operatives represented in the top 100.
The leading grocery trade magazine has compiled a list of the top 100 leaders, thinkers and agitators shaping the grocery industry. There are a number of new entries, including in the top spot, taken by Amazon UK managing director Chris North.
The online retailer’s “slow and deliberate push forward” into the grocery market is described as “a latent threat”, and the launch of Amazon Fresh – its fresh and frozen food deliveries with Morrisons – could make the retail giant a huge player in the grocery sector in 2016.
The highest ranked co-operator representative is Co-operative Group CEO Richard Pennycook, ranked at 21 (down from last year’s 12). The Grocer praised his “experienced hand on the tiller” after the Group’s troubles three years ago. The magazine states: “It’s no exaggeration to say Pennycook saved the Co-op.”
The Co-op Group has been pursuing a policy of aggressive expansion of late, with almost 100 new Co-op Food convenience stores opening in 2015, and another 100 planned for 2016.
This, says The Grocer, is down to Mr Pennycook’s focus on reinvesting for the future, infrastructure, customers and staff. It describes the expansion as “remarkable given where the Co-op was at two years ago.”
Although Mr Pennycook’s ranking dropped 13 places, that fall is explained in part by his prioritising of the Co-op Bank and the emergence of Steve Murrells, CEO of retail at the Co-operative Group, placed at number 39.
As well as overseeing the fastest expansion of any retailer in the country, Mr Murrells is administering an upgrade of existing stores to ensure they meet the high standards set at the new-build sites.
The Grocer praises the Co-op’s momentum, with good figures reported over Christmas and the successful prioritising of convenience – for people shopping little and often.
The list acknowledges that the Group has upset some communities by taking over buildings formerly occupied by local pubs, but recognises the praise it has received from the Campaign for Real Ale for its attempts to co-exist with pubs when offered their sites as potential premises.
The final Group representative is Allan Leighton at number 89. His appointment as the Group’s first chairman after the banking scandal in 2013 “paved the way for change”, and showed the organisation to be putting its house in order.
Mr Leighton is credited as turning around Asda’s fortunes in the 1990s and has served as non-executive chairman of Royal Mail. He told The Grocer: “the only thing that counts is what happens now. The turnaround won’t happen overnight. It will happen every day.”
Away from the Group, Peter Giøtz-Carlsen, executive vice president of Arla Foods UK, was ranked at 24 – up from last year’s 56.
The dairy co-op would initially seem to be suffering, with Arla losing a large amount of its Tesco milk volume to Müller and the dairy market remaining tough. There have also been concerns about whether British farmers see the benefit of money made in Britain. However, Arla countered those claims by reminding that their co-operative model works both ways – and British farmers benefit from sales in other countries.
The Grocer praised Arla’s strategic importance to retailers, busy NPD programme, and Giøtz-Carlsen’s leadership at “one of dairy’s true innovation powerhouses.”
At number 26 is Rob Collins, incoming UK managing director of Waitrose. Mr Collins will take over from Mark Price in April and face a tough task as Waitrose, part of the employee-owned John Lewis Partnership, finds itself sucked into price wars with discounters. The Ocado contract is also up for renewal while Amazon’s deal with Morrisons is set to shake up the home delivery market.
But The Grocer praised Mr Collins’ “impeccable” credentials in retail and leadership having been at the John Lewis Partnership for 23 years, including his successful current position as retail director of Waitrose.
In this article
- Allan Leighton
- Arla Foods UK
- chief executive
- Executive Vice President
- John Lewis Partnership
- Mark Price
- online retailer
- Peter Gitz-Carlsen
- power list
- retail director
- Richard Pennycook
- Rob Collins
- Steve Murrells
- The Co-operative Food
- The Grocer
- United Kingdom
- Top Stories
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