This week, The Co-operative Group chairman Len Wardle described the society’s new management team as “formidable”. He’s not wrong.

For the first time in some years, the society now boasts an executive team made up of high-profile figures from the wider business sector, rather than The Co-op movement.

“Talent from the wider industry will open The Co-op up to new ideas”

Beth Phillips, deputy news editor

Its capture of Morrisons FD Richard Pennycook into the same role, and former Alliance & Leicester CEO Richard Pym as chair of Co-op Bank this week follows the appointment of HSBC North America boss Niall Booker to head the Bank, as well as group CEO Euan Sutherland - formerly of Kingfisher. Its food team boasts hires from Tesco and Asda, too.

It’s a transformation from just a few months ago when Peter Marks, a Co-op lifer, was at the helm, backed by deputy Martyn Wates (16 years), and a cohort of co-operative executives in every sense of the word (and United in only its most limited meaning).

Drawing in more outside talent will open the society up to new ideas and experiences. It must now hope the new team is “formidable” enough to turn around its ailing fortunes.