Co-operative Group Chief Executive Peter Marks set to retire

Chief Executive of the Co-operative Group Peter Marks has announced his retirement for next year.

Chief Executive of the Co-operative Group Peter Marks has announced his retirement for next year.

Mr Marks intends to retire in May 2013, aged 63, after six years in his current role following the merger with United Co-operatives where he also held the Chief Executive role.

Mr Marks, who has spent his entire working life within the Co-operative Movement, joined what became Yorkshire Co-operatives in 1967 as a management trainee in the food retail business. He rose to become Chief Executive of the business in 2000 and when the mutual merged with United Norwest Cooperative in 2002 to form United Co-operatives he took the Chief Executive role there. 

The Group Board issued a statement saying that since 2007, under Mr Marks' leadership, the society has been "transformed operationally and strategically, while maintaining its unique focus on trust as an ethically-driven and member-owned business".

During his tenure, the statement adds that Mr Marks has increased the society's prescence in the food market as the fifth largest player following the Somerfield acquisition; created a "super mutual" with the merger of the Co-operative Bank and Britannia, and recently the Lloyds Banking Group Verde business; and the Group's family of businesses have been "strengthened" following the expanision of Legal Services and the creation of the joint venture with Thomas Cook in travel.

Mr Marks will retire at the Group’s Annual General Meeting on 18 May. The Board will now start the formal process for recruiting a successor, which will involve the consideration of both internal and external candidates. At the same time, Mr Marks will step down as a Director from the Boards of Co-operative Banking Group Limited and its subsidiaries, including The Co-operative Bank Plc.

Len Wardle, The Group's Chair, said: "Peter has done a truly outstanding job for The Co-operative Group. He was the architect of the current strategy to ensure that we developed real scale in our key businesses. Peter has led a strong management team which has ensured that those businesses are now stronger and better able to deliver for our millions of customers.

"As a result, the Co-operative Group is better placed than ever before to do what it does best – offering a real alternative on the high street with a unique focus on ethical business under a brand which, more than any other, stands for trust. Peter will retire next year with our thanks and good wishes for the future. He will remain with the Group until our AGM next year, which will ensure an orderly transition to his eventual successor.”

Mr Marks added: "I am extremely proud of what has been achieved at the Co-operative Group over the past five years. We have transformed this business while staying true to our roots as a mutual, ensuring that we now offer value with values to millions more customers than ever before. Our ownership model means that the top management team has been able to take strategic decisions for the long term, in the interests of our members and customers and I am confident we have laid the foundations for the ongoing success of the Group.

“I have a great team around me; one that has been strengthened over the past year as the Group has continued to attract top talent across its businesses. Given all we have achieved, it now feels like the right time for me to stand down. I know this business will continue to flourish for years to come because of our determination to put the customer at the centre of everything we do and because I leave the Group in very safe hands.”

Ed Mayo, Secretary General at Co-operatives UK, said: "Peter deserves the keys to Rochdale, World Co-operative Capital, for his service and leadership over so many years within the co-operative sector. A retailer through and through, he has seen and made the deals that have shaped the consumer co-operative sector today.

"There are leadership challenges, risks and opportunities ahead of a new form for the Co-operative Group and indeed for wider consumer co-operatives, but as a movement, we should be careful not to lose Peter Marks' determination, focus and plain speaking as an integral part of our business culture."

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