Co-op's boss just admitted that former 'mismanagement' nearly destroyed the organisation

The boss of the Co-operative Group just blamed the “mismanagement” of his predecessors for the company’s problems over the last few years.

Richard Pennycook told BBC Radio 5 live this morning that he is leading a massive structural and governance change in the company, which is the UK’s largest mutual business and is owned by more than eight million members,  in a bid to fix the firm’s reputation. He said the group was “undermanaged” in the past.

“We let the co-operative movement down in a fairly significant way, after 150 proud years where the Co-op had a reputation for doing the right thing,” said Pennycook on the radio. “Just applying good management disciplines and taking out costs can improve profitability.”

The Co-Op Group owns supermarkets, funeral services, and pharmacies for a total of 3,750 outlets across the UK.

In April, the Co-op revealed in a trading statement for the 52 weeks ending January 3, 2015, that group revenue of £9.4 billion ($US14.7 billion) in 2014, from £9.7 billion ($US15.2 billion) the previous year.

It added at the time that it is attempting to “rescue, rebuild, renew” itself after a range of personnel scandals and financial issues dogged the company over the last two years. 

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