The Co-operative Group has announced that its Chair, Len Wardle, is to step down next year after the organisation lost control of its banking division.
Len Wardle, who is Chair of the parent body for the Co-operative Bank, has said he will retire from his position at May’s annual meeting.
He was expected to make the announcement at the Group’s half-yearly meeting on November 2nd, but has made the announcement this week following news that the Group will retain a 30 per cent share in the Co-operative Bank.
Mr Wardle, who was elected as Chair in 2007, said: "On November 2nd I intend to give the membership my notice that I will relinquish my Chairmanship in May 2014. In August this year, I informed the Board that it was my intention to step down at the end of my term of office whilst also making clear that I wanted to drive hard the reforms to modernise the Group.
“During the last year, we have appointed Euan Sutherland as Group CEO and started the changes that I believe will make The Co-operative Group stronger than ever.”
Mr Wardle added that the Group is “best when it is reforming and I want this change to continue”.
He also added that he wanted members to elect an independent chair. He said: “I want to persuade our members that the Co-operative Group should now look to an independent chair to lead the business, working side-by-side with the members who represent the movement.”
Euan Sutherland, Group Chief Executive of the Group, commented: "Firstly, I want to thank Len for his leadership and commitment to The Co-operative over the last six years. Under his guidance we have made significant progress on beginning the reform which we will announce as planned in May 2014. I look forward to working with colleagues and members to ensure that we return the business to growth over the coming years."