THE embattled Co-operative Group is to delay the publication of annual results that are widely expected to reveal losses of £2bn, it announced yesterday.
Figures had been due to be published next Wednesday, on March 26, but this has now been put back by three weeks to April 17.
The results cover a 12-month period in which the Co-op has faced the worst crisis in its history, after a £1.5 billion hole was discovered in the finances of its banking arm, and the group lost overall control of the business as it was rescued by bondholders.
It is likely to fuel speculation that the food-to-funerals group’s balance sheet has been left in even worse shape than previously thought.
But a source blamed the delay on the recent turmoil over the departure of chief executive Euan Sutherland. Instead of an intense focus on the numbers in the run-up to the release “people’s focus has been elsewhere”.
It was also announced that finance director Richard Pennycook, who is currently standing in as chief executive, will, once a permanent new boss is found, move into the expanded role as chief operating officer.
The role will oversee finance and procurement as well as IT, risk and “transformation delivery” as the group seeks to re-shape itself.
Other changes include a shake-up in the management of its various divisions.