Somerfield chief executive Paul Mason has stepped down from the day-to-day running of the grocer but will carry on in an advisory position, as The Co-operative Group seals its £1.7bn bid for the business.

Mason, along with finance director David Cheyne and trading director Colin Smith, have stepped down but will be available, if required for the integration, for a period of time. Chairman John Lovering has also stepped down and will no longer be involved in the business.

The Co-op has also appointed some of the Somerfield team to its management. Former retail director John Cleland becomes managing director for Somerfield, reporting into Tim Hurrell, The Co-op’s managing director of food.

Oliver Meakin will remain in his role as strategy and business systems director, reporting into Cleland. However, he also becomes integration director.

Hurrell said: “John [Cleland] has played an important and significant part in the transformation of Somerfield, and I am delighted that he has agreed to stay on for the foreseeable future to manage Somerfield through the integration with the Co-operative Group.

“I am also pleased that Paul, David and Colin have offered to stay on in an advisory capacity for a period of time to support the integration; their collective experience will prove invaluable. My team and I are all extremely excited about working with the whole of the Somerfield team to integrate these two businesses and create the UK’s number one community food retailer.”