United Co-op chief executive Martin Beaumont will succeed Sir Graham Melmoth as chief executive of the Co-operative Group in late September. Beaumont said it was premature to say what his plans were, but added: "I intend to build on the work of Sir Graham and to maintain the momentum of the business during the handover." He conceded that his appointment could herald closer links between United, the second largest society in the UK, and Co-operative Group. He pointed out that United recently joined the co-operative buying group CRTG, and he said: "We already co-operate with each other in a lot of areas. There is a lot of goodwill between us and I envisage my appointment could help develop other areas of co-operation." Co-operative Group chairman Keith Darwin said: "Martin joins at a time when the group's fortunes are on the up. His track record at United Co-op, where turnover and profits have risen year by year during his nine years at the helm, is impressive to say the least and has been achieved by developing a strong co-operative trading stance." Melmoth, who earlier this year announced he would be retiring after six years as chief executive, said: "We have seen off asset strippers, delivered a major merger, and brought together our financial service business. The group is now based on firm foundations, but there is much more mileage yet in a renewed co-operative proposition." {{NEWS }}