Mark Hudson has been appointed chief officer of food retail operations for The Co-operative Group's south east region.

Hudson will take responsibility for almost 350 food stores in the south east. He has more than 25 years experience in retail, having previously worked for Sainsbury's, Waitrose and B&Q in a number of regional and national management roles.

He replaces David Mockford, who will be heading up the north region, which includes more than 300 food stores in Cumbria, the north east and north west. Mockford joined the Co-op Group as a trainee in 1988 and has previously headed food retail operations in the group's Wales and Borders region.

He was also responsible for managing the integration of the Balfour and Conveco convenience store chains after they were acquired in 2003 and 2004.