The boss of Co-op Food, who took a career break in May to help her sons through their exams, won't return to her role, it has been announced.
Chief executive Jo Whitfield stepped away for four months having first taken up the job in 2017. She has previously worked for Asda, Matalan and GE Capital.
She will be succeeded by commercial director Matt Hood who will become managing director of Co-op Food.
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Michael Fletcher who has led Co-op’s wholesale arm, Nisa, is also stepping down from his role. He will be succeeded by Peter Batt, a former managing director of Co-op’s regional stores in the south.
The news comes after a period of change at the Co-op, with long-time CEO Steve Murrells stepping down and being replaced by Shirine Khoury-Haq.
The group also announced plans in July to cut 400 jobs because of a "tough trading environment".
Co-op chair Allan Leighton said: "Jo has decided that this is the right time to move on and pursue her next challenge.
"During her time with us, Jo has led a re-invention of our Food business. She always put colleagues first and championed colleague safety.
"She leaves the Co-op with our warmest wishes and deepest thanks for everything she has delivered for our colleagues, members and customers."
CEO Shirine Khoury-Haq added: "I wish to express my thanks to Jo for all that she has achieved and wish her all the best in the next chapter of her career.
"I am delighted to announce that Matt is our new managing director of Co-op Food with both the commercial and operational areas reporting into him and he will ensure we remain leaders in convenience.
"We have an incredibly strong team, an established position to build from and the hunger and opportunity to achieve so much more in the years ahead.
"Michael Fletcher is also leaving his role as Nisa CEO in early October and will then pursue a new career path, supporting multiple businesses. He leaves behind a huge legacy.
"Peter Batt will take over from Michael with immediate effect to allow a managed handover with Michael. Peter has extensive experience in retail and trading, having been our divisional managing director in the South, and brings with him both commercial and operational experience from his roles outside of Co-op.
"I have the upmost confidence that Peter will hit the ground running to support our Nisa partners."
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