Co-op Group CEO Steve Murrells is to step down, paving the way for the supermarket’s first female boss.
Shirine Khoury-Haq, who currently holds the role of group CFO and CEO of Co-op Life Services, will become interim CEO this spring.
Exiting boss Murrells will step down after the supermarket’s AGM in May and said the leadership change came as the company was beginning a process to appoint a new chairman.
“In such circumstances I would either have needed to commit for another five years or step down now to allow a new CEO to become established and allow a smooth transition to occur, ahead of a new chairman arriving,” he explained. “I have therefore chosen to take that step now.”
Allan Leighton is the current chair of the supermarket and has held the position since February 2015 with a CV including time running Asda and Pandora.
In a statement on Friday, Murrells said: “I have had 10 wonderful years at the Co-op and am very proud of all that we have achieved and how we’ve shown that a purpose-led organisation, focussed on a strong vision of fairness and values can make such a difference. Thanks to our amazing colleagues, we have been there for millions of members and customers when they have needed us the most.”
Murrells took the reins of the supermarket as CEO in March 2017, following a five year stint heading the company’s food business.
Incoming CEO Shirine Khoury-Haq said: “I am proud to be part of a wonderful organisation that contributes so much to our communities and our country. We have lots to do and I am looking forward to working with my 60,000 colleagues, Allan and our Board to continue to make the Co-op a special place to work while providing great products and services to our customers and members.”