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Co-op’s Euan Sutherland replaced with interim CEO Richard Pennycook as group accepts resignation

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By Natalie Mortimer | N/A

March 11, 2014 | 3 min read

Co-operative Group has announced an interim CEO to replace Euan Sutherland, who has resigned the post, citing a lack of "professional and commercial governance" for his departure.

The news of his resignation first emerged earlier today when it the BBC reported that Sutherland, who joined the group last May, had penned a resignation letter calling the Co-op "ungovernable",. Finance director Richard Pennycook has been named as interim CEO.

Despite reports that the management board had called an emergency meeting to keep Sutherland on-board, the Co-op later confirmed his resignation.

In a statement Sutherland said: “It is with great sadness that I have resigned as chief executive. I have given my all to the business and had hoped to be able to lead its revival. However, I now feel that until the group adopts professional and commercial governance it will be impossible to implement what my team and I believe are the necessary changes and reforms to renew the Group and give it a relevant and sustainable future.”

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He added that he would not be accepting any retention or long term incentive payments, despite achieving targets for the delivery and protection of value in the Co-op. Sutherland was set to receive a £3.5m pay packet.

On Sunday details of his pay were leaked to the media and he took to Facebook to express his feelings that members of the board were aiming to "undermine" him.

Ursula Lidbetter, chair of the Co-operative Group, said: “It is with deep regret that I accept Euan’s resignation. Last year, Euan and his team saved the Co-operative Bank, without recourse to the taxpayer, and in doing so rescued the group from the biggest crisis in its 150-year history. They have worked night and day to renew the organisation and to give it a sustainable future.

“Euan’s resignation must now act as a catalyst for the real and necessary change which the group must go through. I would like to thank Euan for his hard work and leadership and to wish him the very best for the future.”

Sutherland joined the Co-op just weeks before a £1.5bn black hole was discovered in the Co-operative Bank.

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