Co-operative Bank hires new chairman to restructure operations

5 June 2013

The banking unit of the Co-operative Group has appointed an experienced banker in Richard Pym to head up its financial restructuring programme after the bank received a dramatic credit ratings cut in May. The bank is still reeling from the failure of the project verde plan to takeover Lloyds Banking Group branches, which lead to the exit of the Co-Op Bank's former chief executive, Barry Tootell, and concerns about the stability of the bank.

Mr Pym, who was the former chief executive of the Alliance & Leicester building society, will become the new chairman of the Co-op Bank immediately.

In a separate move, the Co-operative has also appointed Richard Pennycook as group finance director. Mr Pennycook was formerly the finance chief at the UK-based supermarket Morrisons. The Co-operative Group is the UK's largest customer-owned mutual business, owning grocery stores, banks and funeral homes among much else, but it is going through troubled times at the moment.

It recently saw its credit rating downgraded to "junk" status by Moody's in May and pulled out of the deal to take on 632 branches from Lloyds Banking Group, citing a poor economic climate as the reason.

The bank, like many in the UK, is restructuring its operations and Mr Pym will now head up the programme.

By Gary Cooper and Neil Ainger

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