Lincolnshire Co-op CEO Ursula Lidbetter announces retirement

She steps down after 37 years with the society, which were recognised with an OBE for services to the local economy

Lincolnshire Co-op’s CEO Ursula Lidbetter has announced her plan to retire at the end of 2022, after a career with the society spanning 37 years. 

Ms Lidbetter, who started in 1985 as a buyer and department manager, is in her 18th year at the helm of the independent retail co-op, which has over 220 varied outlets and recorded sales of over £355m in 2020/21.  

She has also been at the helm of major projects including the creation of the Lincoln Science and Innovation Park and The Cornhill Quarter development in Lincoln. She received her OBE in 2019 for services to the local economy.

Her career also saw her step up from November 2013 – February 2015 for a brief stint as chair of the Co-operative Group in the wake of its financial crisis, where she helped to steer it through the early stages of its rescue process.

This year will see Ms Lidbetter turn 60 and, after almost two thirds of her life working for Lincolnshire, she feels it’s the right time to retire and spend more time with family.

She said: “It’s a privilege to work alongside my 2,900 colleagues to lead this special business, where we aim to make life better in our communities every day.

“It’s also wonderful to collaborate with many like-minded people in organisations across Lincolnshire and beyond to bring forward schemes making such a difference.

“In due course, I will hand over to my successor who will take us into the next stage of our development.”

Lincolnshire’s board of directors will conduct a recruitment process for the new CEO over coming months. 

Chair David Cowell said: “The board would like to thank Ursula for the huge contribution she has made to the success of the society during her time here. She will be leaving our co-op in great shape to move on to its next chapter, based upon the strong legacy that has been built over 161 years of trading.

“In the meantime, we have a busy programme of work for 2022 and look forward to delivering this under Ursula’s expert leadership.”