Pennycook, who joined the Co-op on an interim basis at the height of its crisis in 2013, has been leading its transformation plan. At the time of joining, he put on hold a planned portfolio career but now wishes to return to that.
Murrells joined the group to run its food business in 2012. Pennycook will step down as chief executive after a short transition to Murrells.
Allan Leighton, chair of the Co-op, said: “Richard Pennycook saved our Co-op. In three short years he has rescued and rebuilt our business and restored pride to our 70,000 colleagues and 4.5 million members. We owe Richard a huge debt of gratitude and his place in Co-op history is secured.
“We are fortunate to have Steve as our new group chief executive. His leadership has seen our Co-op consistently outperform the market in food and he is the right and unanimous choice to now take the whole group forward for the next phase of our transformation.”
In other changes, chief operating officer Pippa Wicks is to become deputy chief executive with responsibility for delivery of the remaining aspects of the group’s transformation.
Jo Whitfield, who is currently finance director of the food business, will become chief executive of Co-op Food on an interim basis.
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