Southern Co-operative COO, Phil Ponsonby, recruited to lead Midcounties’ Food business

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The Midcounties Co-operative has strengthened its senior management team with the appointment of Phil Ponsonby as group general manager of its Food business.

He joins the Warwickshire-headquartered Society, the largest independent co-operative in the UK, from Southern Co-operative where he has been chief operating officer (Food Retail & Services) for the last six years.

At Southern, Ponsonby has responsibility for the strategic and commercial direction of its portfolio of 220 convenience stores and 50 Post Offices.

Ponsonby will join Midcounties’ in April and brings with him 30 years’ grocery retail experience.

He will be responsible for driving the growth of The Midcounties’ portfolio of 232 Food Retail stores and including developing the offering of its larger format stores and continued development of its growing convenience estate.

With much of his career within the Co-operative movement, Ponsonby has a passion for ethical sourcing policies and played a major role in the creation of a new buying services agreement for all UK Co-operatives last year. He is also the longest serving member on the CRTG monitoring group.

Ben Reid, chief executive of The Midcounties Co-operative, said: “We have embarked on a number of new initiatives across our Food business to further improve the products, range and service offered to our customers across our key trading areas. Phil’s in-depth experience of grocery retail and his understanding of the co-operative model means he’s ideally placed to drive our business forward.

Ponsonby said: “I’m excited about taking on a new challenge within the co-operative movement and helping The Midcounties Co-operative to develop its retail business at a time of dynamic change in the grocery retail sector.”