max temp: 15°C

min temp: 12°C


Retail: Co-operative Group accepts resignation of chief executive Euan Sutherland

15:05 11 March 2014

Euan Sutherland, who has resigned as chief executive of the Co-operative Group.

Euan Sutherland, who has resigned as chief executive of the Co-operative Group.


The Co-op said today it has accepted the resignation of chief executive Euan Sutherland after less than a year at the helm.

Mr Sutherland’s decision to quit comes after he complained that his efforts to overhaul the business had been made “impossible” by the mutual’s failure to reform its governance.

He will be replaced by chief financial officer Richard Pennycook, who has been appointed as interim chief executive.

Mr Sutherland said he will not accept retention and long-term incentive payments due to him for securing the future of the Co-op Bank, which came close to collapse after it was found to have a £1.5billion hole in its finances.

He said: “Saving the Co-operative Bank and with it the Co-operative Group from administration was a huge task, but the changes required do not stop there, with fundamental modernisation needed to safeguard the future for our 90,000 colleagues and millions of members.

“The group must reduce its significant debt and drive major efficiencies and growth in all of its businesses, but to do so also urgently needs fundamental governance reform and a revitalised membership.”

He added: “I have given my all to the business and had hoped to be able to lead its revival.

“However, I now feel that, until the group adopts professional and commercial governance, it will be impossible to implement what my team and I believe are the necessary changes and reforms to renew the group and give it a relevant and sustainable future.”

Mr Sutherland’s decision to walk away comes after the Co-op’s proposal to award him a £3.6million pay deal was leaked to a Sunday newspaper.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, he expressed frustration that the story appeared to have come “from our group boardroom”.

He added: “We appear to have disaffected people who are determined to make life difficult and embarrassing for the Co-operative at a time when what we need most are professionalism and loyalty to the business.”

He offered to resign yesterday morning on a “point of principle”, amid resistance to his plans to overhaul the troubled business after a year in which it faced the worst crisis in its history.

In an emergency call last night following the letter, board members agreed to a shake-up of its structure by splitting off representatives elected from its membership from the core “plc” type board overseeing the running of the business.

Co-op chair Ursula Lidbetter said she accepted Mr Sutherland’s resignation with “deep regret”.

She added: “Euan’s resignation must now act as a catalyst for the real and necessary change which the group must go through.”

Mr Pennycook, who was previously finance director at supermarket chain Morrisons, will lead the group while it searches for a permanent successor.

He said: “Our businesses continue to perform in line with the clear commercial plans put in place under Euan’s leadership and I and the team will plot a steady course in the coming months.”


More than 4,000 motorists were caught speeding during the first three months of enforcing the new 60mph speed limit on the Orwell Bridge.

A drug user found with cannabis inside a Kinder egg after going to Martlesham police investigation centre to answer bail for a theft offence has been jailed.

A person has been successfully talked down from the Orwell Bridge this morning.

It didn’t last long – Town couldn’t turn their victory against Burton into a winning streak and succumbed to a 3-0 loss to Newcastle last weekend.

As we approach November there is still plenty of great local sport to get your teeth into.

Mid Suffolk District Council have apologised after admitting an “embarrassing” mistake was made in a letter sent to voters this week.

A broken down train between Ipswich and Felixstowe has closed the line this morning.

Three trains have been cancelled and several others delayed by up to 60 minutes due to a broken down train at Needham Market.

Local government secretary Sajid Javid has spent a day trying to resuscitate devolution proposals for Suffolk and Norfolk at meetings in both counties.

A Suffolk church verger who told his 70-year-old neighbour “you’ll get what’s coming to you” has been banned from contacting her for a year.

Most read

Most commented


Show Job Lists

Topic pages


Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24