allan leighton

Allan Leighton’s appointment as the new chairman of The Co-operative Group has been largely welcomed by the society’s staff and members.

Leighton was last week appointed the first chairman of The Co-op following the overhaul of its corporate governance last year. He is donating his £250,000 salary to The Co-operative Foundation.

Leighton’s previous experience at Asda and Royal Mail, where he is credited with turning around the fortunes of the two companies, was cheered by staff and members on the society’s Facebook pages.

“As a Royal Mail employee and seeing what he did with Royal Mail, he’s the man the society needs,” one user posted. A poster on The Co-op’s employee page added: “Let’s hope he can do the same for The Co-op that he did for Asda, but for that to happen everybody needs to get on the same bus.”

There was also general support for his appointment: “A very big welcome Allan, let’s get this new train started… next stop success.”

And another said: “There’s certainly a need to put clear water between the new board and the previous one. There were serious questions not only about governance and appointments but also why it took so long to remedy and why it had to be so public.”

But others were not so positive. “Hope his only answer isn’t punishing staff at the bottom who work hard, and getting staff cuts and bonuses taken away,” wrote one. Another said: “This is a shame. There should be a member in the chair.”