Chief Executive
Co-operative Group

Co-op lifer Peter Marks has leapt up the rankings after completing retail’s biggest deal of the year - the £1.57bn acquisition of Somerfield. The deal propels Co-operative Group into the realms of the big boys and creates the fifth-biggest grocer player.

The deal is the biggest since Morrisons bought Safeway in 2004, but Marks is confident the integration will be smooth, unlike that of the former deal. Marks has also been quick to get across the key message of the new group, putting responsible retailing at the heart of the business. He has his work cut out, though. While Somerfield and Co-op are both convenience chains, the private equity culture of the former is very different from the mutual.

The integration could well be the crowning glory of Marks’ long Co-op career, but in the meantime he will have rivals such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s breathing down his neck.