LINCOLNSHIRE Co-op has made history by becoming the first major retail co-operative in Britain to appoint a female Chief Executive.
Ursula Lidbetter, currently the society's Secretary, takes over her new role on Monday. She succeeds Kevin Cooke, who resigned in June to pursue other career interests.
Ms Lidbetter (42) told the News: "I am really looking forward to taking the helm and leading the society forward.
"Our success has been built on the shrewd management, vision, integrity and passion of my predecessors and I intend that these qualities will ensure that we stand out as an exemplary co-operative business, both in our local communities and nationally."
Ursula has worked for the society since 1985 and in that time has undertaken various management roles including overseeing department stores, research and store development.
She has been a member of the Executive for a number of years and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries.
She was a member of the Co-operative Movement's graduate training scheme in 1984/85 and is well known to many co-operators around the country. She is currently chair of the East Midlands Co-operative Council and was instrumental in setting up a co-operative development agency for Lincolnshire in 2003.