Co-op chair Allan Leighton to stand down ahead of biggest cost-cutting drive

Co-op’s chairman Allan Leighton is leave the business after nine years, as it undergoes its biggest ever cost-cutting drive.

According to reporting from The Telegraph, the convenience retailer is understood to have hired City headhunting firm, Odgers Berndston to find a new chair, as well as a new senior independent director.

Five to six people have been shortlisted to fill the chairman role, City sources have said, however the final decision is likely to be made following Co-op’s annual results this week.

The departures come as Co-op pushes ahead to cut costs across the business.

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In July 2022, it made 400 head office roles redundant, which it said at the time was due to the  “tough trading environment”.

As a result, the retailer hopes to see £150m in savings throughout this year.

Co-op also faces £300m of bonds which are set to be repaid in just over a year.

In a bid to lessen its debt pile, it sold 132 petrol forecourt sites to Asda for a total value amount of £600 million last August.

The transaction includes 129 nationwide petrol forecourt sites with a grocery retail store, as well as three development sites, which helped to repay £100m of bonds in February.

A Co-op spokesperson said the business has made “considerable progress” against the strategic priorities Shirine and Allan set out last April.

When the retailer announces its results next week, members will see the Co-op has “significantly strengthened its balance sheet, has clear business goals and continues to deliver on its social commitments.”

“This clear progress would not have been possible if we didn’t have clear and textbook succession plans in place at both board and executive level. Such clarity is enabling us to manage the short-term economic headwinds, while ensuring our Co-op continues to succeed longer-term.”



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