Co-operative Group Chief Peter Marks to retire next year

07 August 2012

The Board of The Co-operative Group announces that Peter Marks, the Group Chief Executive, intends to retire in May 2013, aged 63, after six years in his current role and 45 years working within the wider Co-operative Movement.

Peter Marks became Chief Executive of The Co-operative Group in 2007 after the merger of the Group with United Co-operatives, which he had previously led. Under his leadership and that of the wider management team, The Co-operative Group has been transformed operationally and strategically, while maintaining its unique focus on trust as an ethically-driven and member-owned business.

Since 2007 The Co-operative Group has:

  • Dramatically increased its presence in the food retail market, consolidating its position as the fifth largest player with the acquisition of Somerfield
  • Created an ethically sound “super mutual” in the financial services sector with the merger with Britannia and the recent signing of heads of terms to acquire the Lloyds Banking Group Verde business
  • Strengthened the Group’s Specialist Businesses with the considerable expansion of Legal Services and the creation of the joint venture with Thomas Cook in travel
  • Worked to create a more unified business, ensuring that the benefits of the family of businesses can be delivered across our strong membership and customer base

Peter Marks will retire at The Co-operative Group’s Annual General Meeting on 18 May 2013. The Board will now start the formal process for recruiting a successor, which will involve the consideration of both internal and external candidates. At the same time, Peter will step down as a Director from all the Group Subsidiaries, including the Boards of Co-operative Banking Group Limited and The Co-operative Bank Plc.

Len Wardle, Chairman of The Co-operative Group, said:

"Peter has done a truly outstanding job for The Co-operative Group. He was the architect of the current strategy to ensure that we developed real scale in our key businesses. Peter has led a strong management team which has ensured that those businesses are now stronger and better able to deliver for our millions of customers. As a result, The Co-operative Group is better placed than ever before to do what it does best – offering a real alternative on the high street with a unique focus on ethical business under a brand which, more than any other, stands for trust. Peter will retire next year with our thanks and good wishes for the future. He will remain with the Group until our AGM next year, which will ensure an orderly transition to his eventual successor.”

Peter Marks said:

"I am extremely proud of what has been achieved at The Co-operative Group over the past five years. We have transformed this business while staying true to our roots as a mutual, ensuring that we now offer value with values to millions more customers than ever before. Our ownership model means that the top management team has been able to take strategic decisions for the long term, in the interests of our members and customers and I am confident we have laid the foundations for the on-going success of the Group.

“I have a great team around me; one that has been strengthened over the past year as the Group has continued to attract top talent across its businesses. Given all we have achieved, it now feels like the right time for me to stand down. I know this business will continue to flourish for years to come because of our determination to put the customer at the centre of everything we do and because I leave the Group in very safe hands.”


The Co-operative Group
Martin Henderson
Tel: 0161 827 5292

Tulchan Communications
Susanna Voyle
Lucy Legh
Tel:  0207 353 4200

Notes to Editors

Peter Marks has spent his entire working life within the Co-operative Movement, having originally joined what became Yorkshire Co-operatives in 1967 as a management trainee in the food retail business. He rose to become Chief Executive of the business in 2000 and when the mutual merged with United Norwest Co-operative in 2002 to form United Co-operatives he took the Chief Executive role there. He became Group Chief Executive of The Co-operative Group in 2007 following the merger of the Group with United Co-operatives.

The announcement of Peter Marks’ retirement follows a series of changes within the business which have strengthened the management team. It has been announced that Paul Pester, currently Chief Executive of the Lloyds Project Verde business, will become Chief Executive of The Co-operative Banking Group. Steve Murrells has recently started his new role as Chief Executive of Co-operative Food. 

The Board of The Co-operative Group has commenced a process for the selection of an appropriate candidate as successor to Peter Marks, supported by external executive search consultants Sam Allen Associates.