HEART of England Co-op is still looking for a Chief Executive more than three months after Richard Samson announced that he was resigning to take over the top job at Ipswich & Norwich.
Society officials are baffled by the lack of suitable candidates willing to take over the running of one of England's most successful and progressive retail co-ops and are re-advertising the position in the Co-operative News in the hope of making an appointment before current chief Mr Samson's leaving date in the autumn.
The position was first advertised in April and the Heart of England board had hoped to announce their new Chief Executive by the end of this month.
However it is understood that one favoured candidate eventually declined to take up the position, while other applicants were deemed not to have the experience or expertise needed for such a key role.
Heart of England President Michael Sherwood told the News: `After eight years of continued record profits, it is vital that we select the right individual to take the society forward positively.
`The ideal candidate would be an experienced retailer with a proven track record in general management within the Co-op Movement and we will now be stepping up our search for the right person.`
Mr Sherwood added that Heart of England Co-op has an experienced senior management team in place plus an extremely strong balance sheet, which ought to make the Chief Executive's position an attractive one for potential candidates.
Heart of England's turnover last year grew to almost £ 73 million, with trading profit up 24 per cent to £ 3.9 million.
Mr Samson, who replaces retiring Chief Executive Bill Brown at Ipswich & Norwich Co-op in October, has been asked by the Heart of England board to assist in finding his successor ? a role he is more than happy to take on.