Retail chief to leave Co-op Group

MALCOLM HEPWORTH, head of the Co-operative Group&#039s retail division, is leaving the society after seven years at the helm. Group Chief Executive Martin Beaumont said: `Since his appointment...

MALCOLM HEPWORTH, head of the Co-operative Group&#039s retail division, is leaving the society after seven years at the helm.

Group Chief Executive Martin Beaumont said: `Since his appointment as head of the division in 1997, Malcolm has led the successful growth and development of the Co-operative Group&#039s food retail business which has more than doubled in size during his stewardship.

`The business operates in a highly competitive market, but is, I believe, well positioned for the years ahead.`

Added Mr Beaumont: `This fits in with Malcolm&#039s wish to pursue the next stage of his career outside the Group and I agree that now is the time for a change. I wish him every success in the future`.

Mr Hepworth was previously General Manager of retail operations for the Group and, prior to that, spent 21 years with Gateway/Somerfield, rising from trainee store manager to main board director.

Commenting on his move, Mr Hepworth said: `I have immensely enjoyed the last 12 years with the Co-operative Group, but believe now is the right time to explore other opportunities. I know that I leave the retail business in capable hands and with an exciting future`.

Neil Braithwaite, Director of Finance and IT for the Group&#039s retail division, is appointed acting head of the division with immediate effect until a permanent replacement is found. He will report to Mr Beaumont.

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