Co-op appoints first-ever female CEO

The Co-op has appointed its first-ever female CEO in the group’s 159-year history, with Shirine Khoury-Haq set to replace the current boss Steve Murrells.

Currently, Khoury-Haq serves as both the group’s finance chief and the boos of Co-op’s Life Services division, which sells insurance policies.

In line with Murrell’s salary, who took home £2.2 million in 2020, Khoury-Haq’s salary will increase from the £1.1 million she was paid in salary and bonuses in 2020.

READ MORE: Co-op boss Steve Murrells to step down after 10 years

“I am proud to be part of a wonderful organisation that contributes so much to our communities and our country,” Khoury-Haq said.

“We have lots to do and I am looking forward to working with my 60,000 colleagues, (chairman) Allan (Leighton) and our board to continue to make the Co-op a special place to work while providing great products and services to our customers and members.”

Although long overdue, the Co-op has taken more initiative in ensuring diversity in the workplace as Murrells founded a diversity pledge in January to inspire over 100 CEOs to enact workplace inclusivity.

The pledge included measures to ensure accountability for CEOs and commitment for CEOs to share their learnings and strategic plans for the future.

The news comes as Murrells revealed in a statement this morning (25 March), that he would be stepping down as CEO after “ten wonderful years” to allow a “smooth transition to occur, ahead of the new chairman arriving”.

Murrells also said establishing a “clear CEO succession plan” was important, adding “in such circumstances, I would either have needed to commit for another five years or step down now to allow a new CEO to become established.”

Additionally, the Co-op’s chairman Allan Leighton, who is also on the board for BrewDog, will also be stepping down by 2024 as corporate governance rules place a nine-year maximum rule for non-executives on the board.

“Steve’s decision will ensure the transitioning of both chair and CEO will take place seamlessly. Steve has done a tremendous job at the Co-op in his ten years of tenure and has been at the forefront of our transition,” Leighton said.

“Shirine has excellent leadership skills and a deep level of operational experience, gained globally across a number of sectors. She understands our Co-op and I and the rest of the board look forward to working closely with her going forward.”

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