THE Co-operative Group produced a surprise by naming a senior boss at B&Q owner Kingfisher as its next chief executive.
Euan Sutherland, chief operating officer at the home improvements group, had been seen as a possible successor to the FTSE 100 company’s chief executive Ian Cheshire.
Mr Sutherland, 43, will arrive at the Co-op in May, succeeding Bradford-born Peter Marks, who recently created the UK’s fifth-largest food retailer with the capture of supermarket Somerfield.
Mr Sutherland is already a non-executive director for the group.
Co-op chairman Len Wardle said he had considerable experience of the “strategic leadership needed in complex customer-facing businesses”.
Mr Sutherland has been at Kingfisher since 2008, starting as chief executive of B&Q and Kingfisher UK before becoming group chief operating officer in February 2012 and joining the board in October.
He called the Co-op a “great brand”, adding: “The challenge is to build upon the success that has been achieved in recent years and the solid foundations that have been laid for its future growth.”
He takes on the company at a time of falling profits, amid tough economic conditions and ferocious competition in the retail sector.
Overall group profits fell 34 per cent to £174m in the first half, with operating profits in its food store division down 16 per cent to £119m.