Co-op chairman Allan Leighton issues pre-AGM rallying cry

Allan Leighton wants to build engagement. Picture: AFP/Getty
Allan Leighton wants to build engagement. Picture: AFP/Getty
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The chairman of the food-to-funerals Co-op Group has urged millions of members to help maintain the mutual’s turnaround plans by voting at its forthcoming annual meeting.

Allan Leighton issued the rallying cry today as members across the UK receive their voting packs ahead of the meeting, which is due to take place in Manchester on 21 May.

Among the key measures set to be voted upon next month is a pay reduction for chief executive Richard Pennycook. Earlier this month, Pennycook demanded a pay cut after he said the group had finally “turned a corner” thanks to rising sales.

The Co-op chief has asked the board to slash his pay from £1.25 million to £750,000 as the troubled mutual entered “calmer waters”.

The firm revealed that like-for-like sales across its 2,800 food stores grew by 1.6 per cent in the 52 weeks to 2 January, while its funeral business saw sales climb by 9.9 per cent.

Leighton said today: “The Co-op is so much more than a commercial business, and whilst I’m greatly encouraged by our current trading performance, it’s essential that our wider Co-op difference also shines brightly once more.

“To do this we need to build engagement among our millions of members so that our purpose can be felt throughout communities across the UK.”

For every vote received, the group has pledged to donate 50p to support its joint-campaign with the British Red Cross to tackle isolation and loneliness.