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.