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Co-Op Group CEO Euan Sutherland resigns

Britain's Co-operative Group's chief executive Euan Sutherland has resigned, warning that unless the banks-to-supermarkets mutual group "adopts professional and commercial governance it will be impossible" to guarantee a "relevant and sustainable future" for the group.

In a letter to the Co-operative Group's board released Tuesday, Sutherland added: "Saving The Co-operative Bank and with it The Co-operative Group from administration was a huge task, but the changes required do not stop there, with fundamental modernization needed to safeguard the future for our 90,000 colleagues and millions of members."

Christopher Furlong | Getty Images News

In a statement the Co-operative Group announced that Richard Pennycook, currently chief financial officer, has been appointed interim group CEO.

The Co-op, a well-known presence on Britain's high streets, with banks, supermarkets and funeral homes, has been rocked over the past year by the discovery of a £1.5 billion ($2.5 billion) capital hole in its banking arm and a drugs scandal involving ex-chairman, Methodist minister Paul Flowers.

The scandal pushed Len Wardle to step down as chairman of the company in November. Wardle's replacement Ursula Lidbetter said in a statement Tuesday that, "Euan's resignation must now act as a catalyst for the real and necessary change which the group must go through."

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