Sutherland will replace CEO Peter Marks when he retires and will oversee the group’s diverse businesses including retail, pharmacy, travel, funeral care and banking.
He will join the group in May and take over from Marks when he retires in May. Marks announced he was to step down earlier this year.
The announcement has surprised analysts, many of whom were expecting Marks’ successor to come from a more financial banking background to lead the business through the challenges posed by the planned banking expansion.
Sutherland will be tasked with seeing through the five-year pan for integrating the 632 bank branches The Co-op is set to acquired from Lloyds TSB.
He has also been chairman of B&Q and CEO of Kingfisher UK & Ireland. He is also already a non-executive director of The Co-operative Group’s Food Board.
Len Wardle, chair of The Co-operative Group, says: “[Euan] brings with him considerable experience of the strategic leadership needed in complex customer-facing businesses, across a variety of retail sectors, and we very much look forward to welcoming him and working together.”