Marks names new-look executive team for enlarged society

THE new executive management team to lead the merged trading businesses of the Co-operative Group and United Co-operatives has been announced by incoming Chief Executive Peter Marks. Following...

THE new executive management team to lead the merged trading businesses of the Co-operative Group and United Co-operatives has been announced by incoming Chief Executive Peter Marks.

Following the overwhelming support of members of both societies, the merger will be formally completed on 29 July, though planning to bring the &#163 9bn turnover businesses together will get underway immediately with the aim of creating &#039one business in one year&#039.

As a result of the merger, Martin Beaumont, Group Chief Executive of the Co-operative Group, who announced last October that he would retire in 2007, will bring forward his retirement to the end of July.

Mr Marks, currently Chief Executive of United, said he had combined the strengths of both society&#039s top management pools in a new executive team that has clear lines of authority and accountability for the society&#039s diverse trading business portfolio.

The team includes:

Guy McCracken, chief executive, food retail (chief executive, food retail, the Co-operative Group), with Tim Hurrell (general manager food, United Co-operatives) appointed as designate pending Guy&#039s retirement in 12 months time.

John Nuttall, managing director, healthcare (general manager healthcare, United).

David Hendry, managing director, funeralcare (managing director, funeralcare, Group).

Neil Braithwaite, managing director, specialist retail (managing director pharmacy, Group), bringing together in one division the travel businesses, Shoefayre, Co-operative Legal Services and End of Life Planning.

Lynda Shillaw, managing director, property (managing director property, Group), with additional responsibility for Farmcare and Group Services.

Mike Austin, managing director, commercial (general manager services, United), bringing together in one division Sunwin Motors, Sunwin Services, E-store and Mandate.

Patrick Allen, director of marketing (head of marketing, United).

Richard Bide, director of HR (director of HR, Group).

Bryan Portman, chief financial officer (chief financial officer, Group), with Martyn Wates (chief financial officer, United) appointed designate pending Mr Portman&#039s retirement in September.

The decision not to appoint a Deputy Chief Executive means that Paul Hewitt, Deputy CEO of the Co-operative Trading Group, is to leave the business. Zoe Morgan, Director of Marketing at the Group, will also leave following the decision to appoint Patrick Allen to the role following the merger.

Roger Fretwell, head of HR and Derek Fogg, general manager, Property Group, both at United Co-operatives have announced that they are retiring.

Following changes to the Secretariat function, the Co-operative Group&#039s current Secretary, Nick Eyre, will step down on 28 July. The Group Secretary is a Board appointment and a further announcement will be made in due course.

Mr Marks told said: "By any standard, this is an experienced and talented management team with a proven track record in delivering commercial success aligned to our co-operative values and social goals.

"Our immediate priority from merger will be to successfully integrate the businesses and support functions of both societies and deliver commercial synergies, so that we have one business in one year. We are fortunate that both societies are committed to broadly the same business strategy in each of the markets they operate in, so we are not talking about major upheaval and change."

Co-operative Financial Services, led by Chief Executive David Anderson, is unaffected by the merger of the Group&#039s trading businesses with United Co-operatives.

*There will be further coverage of the Co-op Group&#039s post-merger management changes in the next issue of Co-operative News available from Tuesday.

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