18:07 19 November 2013
Co-op Group chairman Len Wardie has announced last month that he planned to retire in May 2014 after holding the job since 2007. However, following the scandal involving the group’s former banking chairman, Paul Flowers. Mr Wardie said that he felt it was right that he stepped down now.
In a statement, he said: "The recent revelations about the behaviour of Paul Flowers, the former chair of the Co-operative Bank, have raised a number of serious questions for both the bank and the group.
“I led the board that appointed Paul Flowers to lead the bank board and under those circumstances I feel that it is right that I step down now."
Meanwhile, 63-year-old Flowers has apologised after he was filmed allegedly buying drugs. The images attracted national media attention, with many seeing the events as damaging for the brand.
Ursula Lidbetter, the Co-op Group’s deputy chairwoman and chief executive of the Lincolnshire Co-operative Society will replace Mr Wardie.
She said: "These are very difficult times for the Co-operative Group and the wider movement, but I believe that we can and will come through this period stronger than ever by facing up to our challenges."
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