Co-op names Shirine Khoury-Haq interim CEO

Co-op CEO Shirine Khoury-Haq

Manchester-based Co-op Group announced that CEO Steve Murrells will step down following this year’s AGM in May and that it has appointed Shirine Khoury-Haq, group CFO and CEO of Co-op Life Services as its interim group CEO. 

Co-op Group employs 60,000 people and has an annual turnover of £11.5 billion.

Owned mutually by millions of UK consumers, the Co-op operates over 2,500 food stores, 800 funeral homes and provides products to over 5,100 other stores, including those run by independent co-operative societies and through its wholesale business Nisa Retail Limited. 

Murrells said: “It is important to put a clear CEO succession plan in place.

“This is especially the case as we begin the process to appoint a new chairman. 

“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 and allow a smooth transition to occur, ahead of a new chairman arriving. 

“I have therefore chosen to take that step now.

“I have had 10 wonderful years at the Co-op and am very proud of all that we have achieved and how we’ve shown that a purpose-led organisation, focussed on a strong vision of fairness and values can make such a difference.”

Co-op chair Allan Leighton said: “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 10 years of tenure and has been at the forefront of our transition.

“He is a top class leader and person and his legacy in the Co-op is firmly embedded.

“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.”     

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

“We have lots to do and I am looking forward to working with my 60,000 colleagues, Allan 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.”

Khoury-Haq joined the Co-op executive in August 2019.

Before joining the Co-op she was chief operating officer for the Lloyd’s insurance market.

She also held senior positions at IBM, McDonalds and insurer Catlin Group.

Khoury-Haq gained an MBA from Ohio State University and is a US Certified Public Accountant.