Boots’ chief information officer (CIO) Andy Haywood is leaving to become group CIO at the Co-operative Group.

He will leave Boots at the end of this year to start the job, based in Manchester, after two years at the high street chemist. Haywood will report to the Co-operative’s group chief executive Peter Marks.

Haywood, who has also worked at Asda, called his new role a “wonderful opportunity” but added he was sad to leave Boots.

His biggest achievement during his time at the retailer was building up a strong team, he said. “It’s a very business focused IT team. I would say it is now amongst the best in UK retailing, and that’s something I’m very proud of creating.”

He said Boots is still in the middle of a big transformation project and that a lot has already been achieved. “The changes we have delivered and are still delivering touches all aspects of the business in the shops, the back office and supply chain. In many key areas IT has been at the forefront of the shaping and delivery of that transformation.”

Haywood says he looking forward working on the wide range of businesses that the Co-operative Group runs. “The chief executive has some exciting plans to grow the business and deliver even better products and services to Co-op customers in their local communities.  A key challenge will be to figure out how IT can make an even bigger contribution to the business achieving those goals.”

He added reporting directly to the chief executive is another bonus. “I think having IT at the top table is a very enlightened approach, rather than the norm, and one that I believe can help businesses win in very tough market conditions.”