The Department for Education yesterday, (Monday 23 October), announced the appointment of Richard Pennycook to the Board as Lead Non-Executive Board Member. As the former CEO of The Co-Operative Group, Richard has first-hand experience in change management and staff engagement, and in creating a workplace driven by core values.
The Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening, has appointed Richard to support her role as chair of the Board, and to engage with a wide range of people across the Department. He will work closely with the Permanent Secretary to ensure the Department is meeting its strategic priorities. He will also bring together the commercial and management expertise of Non-Executive Board members to offer robust advice and challenge.
Education Secretary Justine Greening, said, "I am delighted that Richard has agreed to be our Lead Non-Executive. The Board plays a vital role in helping our Department to work efficiently and strategically. Richard’s experience in driving change, creating a values-based culture and engaging with staff will be crucial in helping us to build our capability."
About Richard Pennycook
Richard Pennycook was chief executive officer of the Co-operative Group until 1 st March 2017 when Co-op announced that he was stepping after three years at the helm, with Steve Murrells (previously CEO of Co-op Food division) taking charge. Richard took the position as CEO at Co-op in 2014 after being named Chief Financial Officer in 2013. In 2013, he became Chairman of The Hut Group, an online retailer in North-West England with multiple brands, having previously joined as an Independent Non-Executive Director in October 2012.
A chartered accountant and graduate of Bristol University, Richard was previously the Group Finance Director of WM Morrison Supermarkets Plc (“Morrisons”) with responsibility for finance, IT, strategy and multichannel development. Whilst at Morrisons, Richard was responsible for the acquisition of Kiddicare and the Group’s investment in Fresh Direct in New York. He left Morrisons at the end of June 2013.
Richard’s previous senior roles include Group Finance Director of RAC Plc, HP Bulmer Holdings Plc, Laura Ashley Plc and JD Wetherspoon Plc as well as Chief Executive of Welcome Break Holdings Plc. He is currently Senior Independent Director and Chairman of the Audit Committee of Persimmon Plc.
In 2016, he received The Clarity Retail Leader of the Year award.