Co-op hires Jemima Bird to plug vacant customer director position

Jemima Bird has been hired as interim customer director at The Co-op
Jemima Bird has been hired as interim customer director at The Co-op

The Co-operative Food has hired Jemima Bird as its interim customer director after previous hire Rick Vlemmiks failed to take up the role due to personal reasons.

Bird has a deep knowledge of the Co-op business having spent 12 years at the company after joining as a store manager and rising to the director of brand role before leaving for former Budgens-owner Musgrave in 2008.

She has been working in consultancy for the last year and also has director level experience at companies including Moss Bros and Strada-owner Tragus. Bird will report directly to Steve Murrells, retail chief executive at The Co-op.

The Co-op had hired former Direct Line CMO Vlemmiks to the customer director position, but he never joined the company, despite having a 1 November start date, due to personal reasons, according to a Co-op spokesman.

The spokesman added that the company was in the process of seeking a permanent customer director. 

Bird said: "It's a brilliant time [to be back] as the food business continues to gain momentum as the fastest growing non-discounter in the UK."

The food retailer has not had a permanent customer director, its most senior marketing position, for over a year since incumbent Andrew Mann was moved within the Co-op in April 2015 to become customer data director.

Mann was replaced by Steve Hammett as interim customer director. 

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