The Co-operative Group has named Michael Fletcher as trading director for its food business.

Fletcher joins the society from Tesco where he worked for 22 years, holding roles including commercial director for Tesco Malaysia and, most recently, commercial director for group procurement.

He is the latest in a string of hires for the food business following the appointment of new food CEO Steve Murrells in September last year. Since then Andrew Mann has joined from Sainsbury’s, Ian Martin and CJ Antal Smith from Asda, and Matt Hood from Tesco.

Morrisons FD Richard Pennycook also joined the society as its group FD last month.

In addition, Ian Ayling has also been appointed customer change director. Ayling has been working at the society as a marketing consultant, having previously worked at Dunnhumby.

“This is an exciting time for The Co-operative, as we embark on a new long-term strategic plan to drive the business forward,” Murrell said.

“Our initial focus on doing the basics better is already paying dividends in terms of sales, and these appointments bring a wealth of new experience and leadership to help maintain this momentum.  The new appointments will be instrumental in delivering our long-term strategy, and will help shape the future direction of The Co-operative Food.”

Murrell added that sales growth over the summer period had been “encouraging”.