The turmoil at the Co-op hasn’t abated since former boss Euan Sutherland left the business in March. Here’s what it means for the business, and other high profile moves last month.
The turmoil at the Co-op hasn’t abated since former boss Euan Sutherland left the business in March. But while it has dominated the headlines, it wasn’t the only high profile job move last month. As the list below shows, there’s plenty of movement in the industry – two big names for instance, Tom Singh and Mark Newton-Jones, returned to the helm of businesses. The table on the right shows a complete list of who went where.
The seven biggest job moves:
1. Euan Sutherland
The former Kingfisher executive resigned as CEO of the Co-operative Group after declaring the mutual “ungovernable”.
2. Steven Newey
Mulberry captured Steven Newey from Louis Vuitton to lead its commercial activities.
3. Mark Newton-Jones
Mark Newton-Jones took over as interim Mothercare chief executive following the departure of Simon Calver.
4. Amy Bastow
Amy Bastow left Cath Kidston to become commercial director at Crew Clothing.
5. Neil Hendy
Former M&S womenswear design director Neil Hendy joined Coast as creative director.
6. Mark Ibbotson
Asda’s Mark Ibbotson was promoted to the role of chief operating officer.
7. Tom Singh
Tom Singh returned to the role of New Look chairman as Alistair McGeorge stood down.
The crisis engulfing the Co-operative Group claimed another victim last month when chief executive Euan Sutherland left his post after just nine months in the job. Sutherland has been replaced temporarily by Richard Pennycook who will assume the newly created role of chief operating officer once a permanent replacement for Sutherland is found.
Whoever takes charge of the Co-op has a monumental task to rebuild not just the commercial viability of the mutual following the near collapse of its banking arm but the culture of an organisation that has to all intents and purposes lost its identity. Sutherland is rightly regarded as a highly competent executive and the fact he declared the group “ungovernable” is a damning indictment of the toxic relationships that appear to have developed at the top of the Group, particularly between senior executives and members of the Board.
The raft of exits and appointments since Christmas bears witness to the internal turmoil. In March alone, our table of movers includes nine from the Co-op with changes including the appointment of a new chief HR officer in Sam Walker; the return of Rod Bulmer as chief executive of consumer services; the hire of Mark Summerfield as managing director of the Co-operative Banking Group and the capture of Lloyds Banking Group group secretary Claire Davies to undertake the same role at the Co-op. Among those exiting are long-time director of Co-operative relations Mark Craig and chief HR officer Rebecca Skitt after a little over a year in the job.
Lord Myners, who is currently chairing a review of the mutual, believes that radical reform of the Co-op’s governance is needed. Such institutional change is never easy to achieve and there will inevitably be those who are not prepared to stay on board for a journey of huge structural transformation. But the Co-op is a much loved British institution and for the sake of its loyal customers it is imperative that those that remain can find a way to rediscover the values and principles that make it unique.
Tony Gregg is chief executive of the Anthony Gregg Partnership