Former Co-operative Group chief executive Euan Sutherland, who resigned from the embattled mutual in March after ten months in the role, is to receive a £1 million payoff – equivalent to a year’s basic salary.
The Scots-born former chief operating officer of B&Q owner Kingfisher took the helm of the group in May last year, and his resignation followed a row over the leaking of details about his £3.6 million pay package.
Large-scale job losses are expected at the Co-op, which last week struck a £620m deal to sell its pharmacies. Sutherland put the chain up for sale following a disastrous year for the firm that saw bondholders seize control of its banking arm after a £1.5 billion black hole was discovered in its finances. It was also embarrassed by its former bank chairman, Paul Flowers, who pleaded guilty to possessing drugs.
In March, Sutherland took to the group’s Facebook page to complain about the emergence of his pay details, claiming the leak had come from the boardroom.
He wrote: “We seem to have an individual, or individuals, determined to undermine me personally, my team and the rest of the group board regardless of the uncertainty and disruption this causes to our 90,000 colleagues.”
He later resigned after describing the 150-year-old mutual as “ungovernable”.
The Co-op did not respond to requests for comment, but said in a statement to a Sunday newspaper: “Euan Sutherland was on a 12-month notice period as group chief executive. When he resigned in March, the board did not feel it appropriate to ask him to work his notice period and exercised its right to put him on gardening leave, which is normal for a senior executive.”