OXFORD, Swindon & Gloucester Society Chief Executive Bob Burlton is to take over as chairman of the Co-operative Group next May.
He has been appointed to the newly-created post of chair designate and will take over as chairman when the current chair Keith Darwin retires in the spring.
Mr Burlton, a Co-op Group director for the past 11 years, has been Chief Executive at OSG ? the UK's third largest independent retail society ? since 1987.
He is also currently chairman of the board of Co-operatives UK, formerly the Co-op Union, but has announced his intention to stand down from that role next month.
During his time at OSG, sales have risen to £ 330 million and profit rates in recent years have been amongst the best in the Movement.
Mr Burlton said: `I am honoured and delighted to be elected to be the next chair of the Co-operative Group, one of the largest and most successful co-operative businesses in the world.
`These are truly remarkable and exciting times and I genuinely believe that we are witnessing a renewal of support from the public for businesses with sound values, which has been the essence of co-operation for more than 150 years.`
Mr Burlton paid tribute to former Lincoln Co-op Chief Executive Keith Darwin, who has chaired the Co-op Group (formerly CWS) since taking over from Len, now Lord, Fyfe in 2000.
He said: `Keith has steered the Group through major changes in recent years. And, as I will now be standing down from the chair and board of Co-operatives UK, I would also like to thank their directors and staff for all that we have achieved together in recent years.
`I am sure it will continue to go from strength to strength, under the leadership of the board and Pauline Green, to whom I extend a special thank you.`