Steve Johnson, the deputy chief executive of United Co-operatives, has announced that he is to take early retirement in March for personal reasons.
He joined the co-operative movement as a management accountant in 1974 with the former West Yorkshire Society.
Johnson progressed up the ranks and became the deputy chief executive of Yorkshire Co-operatives in 1999.
He played a central part in the merger of United Norwest and Yorkshire Co-operatives in 2002 that led to the creation of United Co-operatives.
Peter Marks, chief executive of United Co-operatives, said that Johnson would be missed.
“When he joined West Yorkshire, it had a turnover of £6.5m. Now United’s turnover is more than £2bn,” said Marks. “During three decades Steve has been heavily involved in mergers and major acquisitions and has made an enormous contribution to ensuring that we are the strongest society in the co-operative movement and a tremendously successful business on any terms.”
Marks said that there were no current plans to appoint a successor for Johnson’s role.
He said: “We have a very strong management team at United Co-operatives.
“Steve’s retirement will allow a number of the younger members of that team to develop in expanded roles.”