Co-op Group set to announce Allan Leighton as chair

The Co-operative Group is set to announce former Asda and Royal Mail boss Allan Leighton as its new chair, as part of its ongoing effort to reform governance at the...

The Co-operative Group is set to announce former Asda and Royal Mail boss Allan Leighton as its new chair, as part of its ongoing effort to reform governance at the organisation.

Mr Leighton would replace Lincolnshire Co-op’s Ursula Lidbetter, who announced last summer that she would be stepping down from the role following the Group’s appointment of its first independent chair.

Allan Leighton's On Leadership was the best selling business book in the UK on its publication in 2008
Allan Leighton’s On Leadership was the best selling business book in the UK on its publication in 2008

The son of a co-operative store manager, Mr Leighton’s career began at Mars, while more recently he has had board roles at Sky, Selfridges, Dyson, Scottish Power and lastminute.com. At Asda, he lead the overhaul that transformed the supermarket from a debt-laden company worth £500m to one that was sold to Wal-Mart for £6.7bn in 1999.

He had a non-executive chairmanship at Royal Mail, which ended March 2009, and is stepping down next month as chairman of the jeweller Pandora and Entertainment One, the business that distributes Peppa Pig.

Although talks with Mr Leighton are still ongoing, a formal announcement from the Group is expected this week.

As well as an independent chair, the new Co-operative Group board will include five independent non-executive directors, two executive directors, including the chief executive and three members nominated directors, following approval by members.

The nomination process for the overhauled board is also expected to begin this week, ahead of the annual meeting in May.

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