Tulip UK boss Steve Murrells has been appointed the new chief executive of food at The Co-operative Group.

Murrells joins the society in July to replace Tim Hurrell, who retired last year.

Prior to joining Tulip, Murrells was with Tesco as chief executive of its One Stop c-store chain and also as commercial director for fresh foods. He was also responsible for the integration of the Dobbies Garden Centre business into Tesco and has also previously worked for Sainsbury’s.

“The Co-op has made enormous strides in its food business and this is an exciting time to be leading the team as we focus on delivering the full potential of the brand for customers and members,” he said.

Sean Toal, acting chief executive since Hurrell’s exit, becomes chief operating officer for food.

“As a result of the acquisition and integration of Somerfield, The Co-op has experienced phenomenal growth and is once again a major force in food retailing,” said group chief executive Peter Marks.

“These appointments reflect this. Steve and Sean bring to their new positions a wealth of experience and complementary skills to make us more efficient and more customer-focused, as we move through the next phase of our development as the UK’s leading community retailer.”

Earlier this week, a leaked memo revealed seven senior managers at the society’s food business had been made redundant. The mutual is currently consulting on further redundancies, expected next month.