The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has appointed former Co-operative Group chief executive Richard Pennycook as its new chairman.
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Pennycook also acts as non-executive chairman of online retailer The Hut Group, and chairman at department store Fenwicks and kitchen supplier Howdens Joinery.
He will take up the new job on 1 February, succeeding Richard Baker in the role. The move was announced at the BRC’s annual dinner event in London.
As finance director at various retailers, Pennycook has been credited with turning around businesses such as Laura Ashley.
In his role as BRC chairman, Pennycook will work with chief executive Helen Dickinson and board members to champion the retail industry and enhance its growth prospects.
Pennycook said: “We are in the midst of a very challenging period for the future of the retail industry with a huge amount at stake in terms of the reputation of business, future employment, the vitality of our town centres and the overall health of the industry in the face of multiple structural, economic and public policy challenges.
“With that in mind I am very much looking forward to supporting and building upon the BRC’s pioneering work. Having a strong, coherent voice for Britain’s retailers is vital if we are to ensure the industry plays its full part in building the skills, opportunities and prosperity of the nation.”
Baker, who also serves as chairman at hospitality company Whitbread, took up the role last July.
Dickinson said: “I would like to pay enormous tribute to Richard Baker for his contribution as chairman over the past eighteen months during a period of profound change both for our politics and for the BRC, and for his continued support for BRC.”