The head of Lincolnshire Co-operative is the new chairman of the entire group as the scandal over its former banking chairman Paul Flowers grows.
Ursula Lidbetter MBE, chief executive of the county’s co-operative, was appointed chairman a week ago in place of Len Wardle who quit over his role in making Mr Flowers chairman of Co-op Bank in 2010.
Miss Lidbetter, who was at the South Holland Enterprise Day and Business Awards last Wednesday, is heading up a full review of how the Co-op Group is run while still keeping her job in Lincolnshire.
She said: “I’ve taken the chairman’s role after being deputy chairman and what has heartened me is the strength of support from the public, Co-op members and staff.
“In Lincolnshire, we’re lucky to have a wonderful Co-op and if I can help other Co-ops by giving some of my time (as non-executive chairman), then I will do.”
One of Miss Lidbetter’s other jobs will be to manage the media firestorm threatening to engulf the Co-op Group ever since a national newspaper published video footage of Mr Flowers allegedly buying illegal drugs.
He has since been suspended as a Methodist Church minister and a Labour Party member and his home in Bradford was searched by police who arrested him on Friday in connection with an investigation into supplying drugs.
Miss Lidbetter said: “It’s quite a challenging time at the moment but us people from Lincolnshire are practical and just get on with things.”