“With a long career in retail and food business, Ian is extremely well qualified for the role,” Richard Pennycook, CEO at the Co-Op Group, said in an emailed statement.
Ellis joined Wilko in 2008 after stints at Morrisons, where he was Head of Finance, and Northern Food PLC before that.
He is a graduate from Nottingham Trent University, where he studied Economics.
Ellis’ appointment comes just weeks after the company changed its chairman. On February 19, the Group announced it had hired Allan Leighton, the former boss of Asda and the Royal Mail. Leighton replaced Ursula Lidbetter, who held the role since November 2013.
In March 2014, Euan Sutherland quit his position as CEO deeming the group “ungovernable,” after the Observer published his £6.6 million ($US10 million) paycheck for 2013 and 2014. Sutherland blamed people from within the group’s boardroom for the leak to the media.
The Co-Op Group owns supermarkets, funeral services, and pharmacies for a total of 3,750 outlets across the UK.
It also owns about one fifth of the Co-Op bank, after it was forced to give up majority control in the bank in 2013 due to a financial hole of £1.5 billion ($US2.4 billion).
The lender just lost one of its senior executives. On Tuesday, chief operating officer Bob Rickert left after less than 18 months at the job. According to the Telegraph, he was “asked to leave” because of his aggressive style of management.