The Co-op removes marketing from the executive board

The Co-operative Group has removed marketing from the executive board as part of a management reshuffle designed to ‘revitalise’ the organisation.

Video: The Co-op is asking consumers to “have their say” on its future direction

Marketing director Gill Barr will continue to oversee the marketing function but will now report into chief external affairs officer Nick Folland. He is responsible for internal and external communications, as well as membership and social goals.

Barr, a former John Lewis and MasterCard marketer, was brought in three years ago to launch a unified marketing strategy that explained the Co-op’s brand purpose. The Co-op is now polling consumers on its future direction with its “Have you say” campaign and is expected to unveil its new brand positioning at its annual general meeting on 17 May.

The changes come as the Co-op looks to rebuild its reputation following a torrid 12 months that culminated in chief executive officer Euan Sutherland resigning last week (11 March). The group is expected to announce losses of up to £2bn for the year, although it is moving its results announcement from next week to 17 April.

Further moves on the executive board include the introduction of a new chief operating officer role, which Richard Pennycook will assume once the group has found a replacement for Sutherland. IT systems and estates will also lose their place on the executive board.

Richard Pennycook, interim chief executive, says: “I am pleased to be announcing these changes to our management team, which mean we are better positioned to tackle the complex issues we face. We are focused on the hard work needed to complete the development of our new strategy. This is the right team to deliver that strategy in the interests of all our stakeholders – customers, colleagues and members.”

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