The Co-operative Group announces that Len Wardle has resigned as Chair of The Co-operative Group and from the Board, with immediate effect. He will be replaced by Ursula Lidbetter, currently Group Deputy Chair and Chief Executive of the Lincolnshire Co-operative Society. It is intended that Ursula will Chair the Group through the current governance review, which will include consideration of how the Board is constituted and chaired.

Len Wardle said:

"The recent revelations about the behaviour of Paul Flowers, the former Chair of The Co-operative Bank, have raised a number of serious questions for both the Bank and the Group. I led the Board that appointed Paul Flowers to lead the Bank Board and under those circumstances I feel that it is right that I step down now, ahead of my planned retirement in May next year.

"I have already made it clear that I believe the time is right for real change in our operations and our governance and the Board recently started a detailed review of our democracy. I hope that the Group now takes the chance to put in place a new democratic structure so we can modernise in the interests of all our members."