The Co-op’s chairman Allan Leighton has issued a rallying cry to the mutual’s members to vote at its AGM as its turnaround plan continues.

Leighton is urging millions of members to help shape the future of the business by voting at the meeting in Manchester next month.

The Co-op is in the middle of a wide-ranging transformation under boss Richard Pennycook, who has put the Co-op back on track following its near collapse in 2013.

The group reported a pre-tax profit of £23m for the year ending January 2, but its food division posted a 3.3% uplift in operating profit to £250m on sales of £7bn.

Members will have a crucial say in deciding the future direction of the Co-op when they vote on a variety of issues, ranging from Fairtrade products to executive pay, at the meeting on May 21.

The Co-op said the vote was important in order to “sustain and build upon the momentum within the business” and pledged to donate 50p to the British Red Cross for every vote received.

Leighton, who became the Co-op’s first independent chairman when he took the role last February, said: “The Co-op is so much more than a commercial business and, whilst I’m greatly encouraged by our current trading performance, it’s essential that our wider Co-op difference also shines brightly once more.

“To do this we need to build engagement among our millions of members so that our purpose can be felt throughout communities across the UK.

“I’m therefore asking our members to use their vote and in the process directly support our campaign to end loneliness in the UK.”