New group CEO of Midcounties named as Ben Reid retires

Phil Ponsonby will step up from the role of chief executive of trading at the society

The Midcounties Co-operative has announced that Phil Ponsonby will be its new group chief executive, following the retirement of Ben Reid at the end of July.

Mr Reid, who has spent more than 40 years in the co-operative movement, led Midcounties as it grew into the UK’s largest independent co-operative, with 670,000 members.

Last year he was oppointed one of the two new directors of the global board of the International Co-operative Alliance.

Midcounties, which is headquartered in Warwick, grew sales by 10.2% to £1.48bn in the year to 27 January 2018 and delivered an operating profit up 16.5% at £13.3m. Its businesses include food stores, travel agency, energy supply, healthcare, childcare and funerals. It is now working on a transfer of engagements which will see it take over the Phone Co-op.

Mr Ponsonby is currently chief executive of trading at the society, which he joined in 2015 from Southern Co-operative.

Helen Wiseman, president of Midcounties, said: “During his career in the co-operative movement, including almost 30 years as a chief executive, Ben has served West Midlands Co-operative Society and, over the last 12 years, Midcounties, with distinction.

“The society has grown considerably under his leadership, expanding its reach while upholding co-operative values. The board would like to thank Ben for his considerable contribution.

“We are delighted that Phil has agreed to take on the group chief executive role. Since joining Midcounties he has demonstrated a real instinct for our businesses and a deep commitment to the co-operative model – attributes that will serve the society well as we look to build for the future.”

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