Tesco Lotus’s store operations director, Chris Whitfield, is taking up the new role of retail and logistics director for The Co-operative Group’s food business early next year.

He will report to retail chief executive Steve Murrells as a member of his executive team.

The Co-op Group created the post after former food chief operating officer Sean Toal left the society for Wilko earlier this year. Whitfield will oversee 2,800 stores as well as the logistics role.

“We are at an exciting point with the business, as our retail strategy to concentrate on the convenience sector takes hold,” Murrells said. 

“Sales in these stores are outperforming the market and Chris’ wealth of retail experience will be invaluable as we look to improve our operations and logistics functions further.”

Whitfield has worked most of his 27 years in the retail sector for Tesco where he has held several senior roles, as well as his most recent position in Thailand.