Co-Op Group Hires Pennycook as Group Finance Director

Co-Operative Group Ltd., whose assets range from supermarkets to funeral homes, appointed Richard Pennycook as group finance director and Richard Pym as chairman of its banking unit.

Pennycook, 49, joins Co-Op after eight years at William Morrison Supermarkets Plc and will take up his new role from July initially on an interim basis, Manchester, England-based Co-Operative Group said in a statement today. Pym, 63, will replace Paul Flowers as chairman of Co-Operative Banking Group.

The group has been replacing senior management amid an abandoned bid for 632 branches owned by Lloyds Banking Group Plc following concerns that its bank unit may not have sufficient capital to meet regulator requests. The group last month named former HSBC Holdings Plc banker Niall Booker as the lender’s new chief executive officer after Barry Tootell quit.

“They bring significant and valuable experience,” Co-Op Group Chairman Len Wardle said in the statement. Both “will be great assets as we reposition our bank and take the wider group to the next phase of its development.”

Co-Op Bank, which traces its roots to Britain’s 19th-century industrial north, last month was cut six steps to junk by Moody’s Investors Service, citing a capital shortfall. Co-Operative Bank’s core Tier 1 capital ratio under the latest round of Basel rules was 6.7 percent in January, less than the 7 percent target set by U.K. regulators, Moody’s said.

Pennycook replaces Steve Humes as group finance director, who left last week, said spokesman Russ Brady. Pym is currently chairman of U.K. Asset Resolution Ltd., owner of the remnants of Britain's fully nationalized banks, and will retain that position, Co-Op said. The agency was formed in 2010, holding mortgages from Bradford & Bingley and Northern Rock after they were taken over by the state.

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