The Co-operative Group has started fielding applications for a new chief executive to replace Sir Graham Melmoth, who plans to retire this year. Advertisements for the £418,000 a year post ask for "an ability to lead a complex organisation of the size and diversity of the Co-operative Group" and an "empathy with Co-operative values". The society rejected reports it had approached National Lottery ceo Dianne Thompson. United Co-op's recent application to join the CRTG buying group makes chief executive Martin Beaumont an obvious contender for the job. {{NEWS }}