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The Co-operative Group announces significant strengthening of top team

-          Richard Pennycook to become Group Finance Director

  -          Richard Pym to become Chair of The Co-operative Bank

The Co-operative Group announces a significant strengthening of its management team with the appointment of Richard Pennycook as Group Finance Director and Richard Pym as Chair of The Co-operative Banking Group and The Co-operative Bank.

Richard Pennycook joins the Group after nearly eight years as Group Finance Director at WM Morrison Supermarkets Plc (“Morrisons”). At Morrisons he had responsibility for the Group’s finance, IT, strategy and multichannel development. Richard, whose previous roles include Group Finance Director at RAC and JD Wetherspoon, will take up his new role on 1 July 2013, initially on an interim basis.

Richard Pym will join The Co-operative Bank with immediate effect. In his new role he will act as an independent non-executive chair. In a 40-year career in business, Richard has held a series of senior roles, including Group Chief Executive of Alliance & Leicester. He is currently Chairman of UK Asset Resolution, a position he will retain as a completely independent part of his portfolio. He succeeds Paul Flowers, who has been Chair of The Co-operative Banking Group and The Co-operative Bank for three years, and is stepping down from both roles and leaving both Boards.

Len Wardle, Chair of The Co-operative Group, said:
“The Board is delighted to welcome both Richard Pennycook and Richard Pym to The Co-operative Group. They bring significant and valuable experience and will be great assets as we reposition our Bank and take the wider Group to the next phase of its development. Together with Euan Sutherland, Group Chief Executive and Niall Booker, our new Bank Chief Executive, we now have a formidable top team with exceptional financial, strategic and operational expertise across retail and financial services. I would like to thank Paul Flowers for his three years’ service as Chair.”

Euan Sutherland, Group Chief Executive of The Co-operative Group, said:
“I am very pleased that individuals of the calibre of Richard Pennycook and Richard Pym have decided to join The Co-operative Group. Both have fantastic track records in British business and the team and I look forward to working closely with both of them.

“Richard Pennycook has proven long-term experience working at the top of some of Britain’s leading companies and will make a valuable addition to our organisation.

“Richard Pym is widely respected across the financial services industry. His appointment, together with that of Niall Booker as Chief Executive of The Co-operative Bank, means the Bank is in very good hands.”

Richard Pennycook said:
“I am delighted to be joining The Co-operative Group to help drive its development. With its strong brand and loyal customer base, the Group is ideally positioned to address the challenges it now faces. Together with Euan and the rest of the team, I look forward to helping The Co-operative Group realise its significant potential.”

Richard Pym said:
“I am delighted to have been invited to chair The Co-operative Bank and look forward to working with Niall Booker, the new Bank Chief Executive, as well as the team at the Group, led by Euan Sutherland.  We are clearly focused on actions to strengthen the Bank’s balance sheet and resolving the current underlying issues. This will allow us to continue to provide customers with an alternative choice to the traditional banks.  The British banking system is very concentrated, with a small number of institutions, and it is important that The Co-operative Bank plays its full part in maintaining a competitive landscape for customers.”

The appointment of Richard Pym is subject to formal regulatory approvals.

For further information contact:

Russ Brady
Patrick Tooher
The Co-operative Group
Tel: 07880 784442 / 07831 314671

Susanna Voyle
Jonathan Sibun
Tulchan Communications
Tel: 020 7353 4200