Michael Spencer has taken over as head of food at the Midlands Co-operative Society following the departure of Pete Whitmore last month.

Spencer was formerly head of distribution operations at Musgrave Partners GB, which owns the Budgens and Londis fascias. As head of retail ­trading at Midlands Co-op, he is tasked with growing sales and profits and continuing the refurbishment of the society's 400 trading ­outlets.

"All retail businesses are facing challenges, not least because of the recession, but for us I feel that the challenge centres around building on our product offer to become famous for our food and to enhance further The Co-operative's excellent customer service," said Spencer.

"Midlands Co-operative Society is a unique business with a truly open and honest attitude that stands by its beliefs."