The Co-operative Group’s CEO Peter Marks steps down today after six years at the helm.
Marks, who announced his retirement last August, will retire at the society’s agm, which will be held in Manchester.
It had been expected to be a quiet affair, but the society’s recent banking woes are likely to have put paid to that. Members are expected to grill Marks on the collapse of the society’s deal to acquire 632 Lloyds TSB branches, as well as the downgrading of The Co-operative Bank to ‘junk’ status by Moody’s.
However, senior co-op figures said he would mainly be remembered for his work in promoting and improving the movement he had been part of for more than 45 years.
“Marks has been the pre-eminent co-operative retailer of the last decade,” said Ed Mayo, secretary general of Co-operatives UK, the national trade body of the movement. “As CEO of The Co-op Group, he maintained those precious qualities of plain speaking, concern for good value and commercial common sense that served him so well throughout his career.”
Doug Field, executive officer for finance and technology at East of England Co-operative Society, added: “He stopped the rot and brought many societies together. He has also done a lot with the Somerfield acquisition. It’s a shame he won’t be going out on a high.”
Marks joined Yorkshire Co-operatives in 1967 as a management trainee and rose to become CEO in 2000. He then became CEO of the enlarged Co-op Group in 2007 when United Co-operatives merged with the Co-op Group.
In 2009, he oversaw the group’s acquisition of Somerfield as well as the merger of The Co-operative Bank with Britannia Building Society. He has been a vocal supporter of a unified co-op movement.