The letter, seen by the BBC, was originally sent to the chair of Co-op’s board Ursula Lidbetter. The board reportedly convened last night to recommend changes to its management structure that would give Sutherland a seat on the board.
The latest leak comes just days after Sutherland criticised a separate leak of documents about his pay, showing that he would receive £3.6m this year. The Co-op has not responded to the latest rumours.
Sutherland is in the middle of a turnaround plan following the discovery of a £1.5bn black hole at the banking division and the controversy surround its former chairman Paul Flowers.
According to YouGov’s Brand Index, perceptions of the Co-op supermarket have fallen across categories including “Reputation”, “Impression” and “Value”, as well as “Buzz”, a measure of the positive and negative things said about the brand, over the past year. It is a similar story at the Co-operative Bank.
It is now asking customers to help develop its future brand positioning in an online survey that asks people for their opinion on its structure, values and services.
The Co-op has also announced plans to shift strategy at its food business with plans to double the size of its convenience store estate and invest in price, own-label food and store refurbishment. It is also looking to sell off its farming division and considering options for the pharmacy business.