SCOTMID Chief Executive Colin Bird has parted company with the Edinburgh-based society in a surprise move precipitated, it is understood, by what one insider called "a clash of personalities."
In a brief statement issued on behalf of Scotland's largest independent retail co-op, the society said Mr Bird (57) had retired by mutual agreement and announced that Deputy Chief Executive John Brodie (40) had been appointed as Acting Chief Executive on a temporary basis.
The spokesman said: "The board would like to thank Colin for his significant contribution to the success and growth of Scotmid since he became Chief Executive in 1998."
Media speculation that the debts incurred by the £ 30 million acquisition of the Morning, Noon and Night convenience store chain had led to Mr Bird's departure have been dismissed by a source close to the board.
Mr Bird, who is also a director of the Co-operative Group, was Scotmid's Secretary and later Deputy Chief Executive before taking over the top job six years ago.