The Midcounties Co-operative has named Phil Ponsonby as group general manager for its food business.

Ponsonby, who joins in April, has been chief operating officer for food retail & services at Southern Co-operatives for the past six years. In that role, he was responsible for the strategic and commercial direction of 220 convenience stores and 50 Post Offices.

At Midcounties, he will be tasked with driving the growth of Midcounties Co-op’s 232 food stores, including developing the offer of its larger stores and the continued development of its c-store estate.

“I’m excited about taking on a new challenge within the co-operative movement and helping The Midcounties Co-operative to develop its retail business at a time of dynamic change in the grocery retail sector,” he said.

Midcounties Co-op chief executive Ben Reid added: “We have embarked on a number of new initiatives across our food business to further improve the products, range and service offered to our customers across our key trading areas.

“Phil’s in-depth experience of grocery retail and his understanding of the co-operative model means he’s ideally placed to drive our business forward.”