Debbie Robinson, The Co-operative Group's director of food retail marketing, has become the highest-profile casualty of a restructure of the society's food marketing department.

This week the society said it was bringing its food buying and marketing teams together under one department, making the post redundant.

It is still unclear when Robinson will leave The Co-op Group or whether she has another job to go to. She joined as a graduate trainee in 1987 within the then Milk Group and has since held a number of roles. She was closely involved in the development of the society's responsible retailing agenda, with a special interest in diet and health issues, including front-of-pack nutritional labelling. She also championed animal welfare issues and secured BUAV approval across health and beauty products. In November, she featured in The Grocer's list of the 35 most influential women in grocery.

The director of food retail trading post, held by David Messom, has also been made redundant as part of the changes, with Messom staying at the society "for the time being" to ensure a smooth handover.

Sean Toal will head up the new commercial department. Toal, who was director of food retail operations, will take on the newly created role of commercial director. He joined the society in July 2007 when United Co-operatives and The Co-op Group merged. He was general manager for retail operations at United Co-op.

Tim Hurrell, the society's managing director of food, said the changes would ­ensure food customers benefited fully from the Somerfield acquisition in terms of product choice, quality and promotions.

"Sean's appointment will ensure that we take this momentum forward and secure our position as the premier community food retailer," he added.

Changes have also been made to the group marketing department, with the head of brand, head of identity and standards development, head of brand communications and head of customer strategy posts being made redundant.