Richard Pennycook has been appointed to the BRC Board as Chairman Elect and is to become the new Chairman of BRC with effect from 1 February 2018. He will succeed Richard Baker in the role, who made the announcement at this evening’s BRC Annual Dinner in London.

The BRC is the voice of the retail industry, the country’s largest private sector employer which provides over three million jobs. It leads the industry and works with its members to tell the story of retail, shaping debates and making a positive difference through influencing the issues that matter at Westminster, Brussels and in the devolved legislatures. 

Mr Pennycook recently stepped down as CEO of the Co-operative Group, having joined in 2013. He has over 25 years’ experience in retail, including with Allders, J D Wetherspoon, Laura Ashley, Welcome Break, and Morrisons. Previously a non-executive director of Richer Sounds, Richard is also non-executive Chairman of online retailer The Hut Group, Chairman of Howdens Joinery PLC and Chairman of Fenwicks department stores.

He will work with the BRC’s Chief Executive Helen Dickinson and Board members to champion the retail industry and enhance its prospects for growth.

Mr Baker, Chairman of Whitbread, has served as Chairman since July 2016.

Mr Pennycook said: “We are in the midst of a very challenging period for the future of the retail industry with a huge amount at stake in terms of the reputation of business, future employment, the vitality of our town centres and the overall health of the industry in the face of multiple structural, economic and public policy challenges. With that in mind I am very much looking forward to supporting and building upon the BRC’s pioneering work. Having a strong, coherent voice for Britain’s retailers is vital if we are to ensure the industry plays its full part in building the skills, opportunities and prosperity of the nation.”

BRC Chief Executive Helen Dickinson OBE said: “The appointment of Richard, a huge figure within the industry, as Chairman will offer continuity and help oversee the implementation of the organisation’s future plans at a crucial point for the industry. We are witnessing an unprecedented pace of economic and political change and it is the BRC’s role to help inform and shape the emerging public policy debate. 

“I would like to pay enormous tribute to Richard Baker for his contribution as chairman over the past eighteen months during a period of profound change both for our politics and for the BRC, and for his continued support for BRC.”

Mr Baker said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to have served as Chairman and I wish Richard every success going forward. The BRC does a crucial job in representing the industry to policy makers in Westminster and across the UK, and I have every confidence that Richard will seek to further strengthen the work and influence of the organisation and the industry.”

 

  • The Retail Podcast: In August, Richard Pennycook spoke to Helen Dickinson OBE, the Chief Executive of the BRC during The Retail Podcast, which was produced by the BRC. In the podcast, Pennycook encouraged business leaders to play an active role in the future of their communities across the UK. You can listen to the podcast here.

 

  • About Richard Pennycook: Richard recently stepped down as CEO of the Co-op in order to pursue a portfolio career, having joined in 2013 as part of a team which saved it from near collapse. He has over 25 years’ experience in retail, starting with the management buyout of Allders in the late 1980s, where he was the CFO of European Duty Free and ran the North American operation for a time. Over the years, he has been involved in the growth of J D Wetherspoon and the turnarounds of Laura Ashley, Welcome Break, and Morrisons. Previously a non-executive director of Richer Sounds, Richard is also non-executive Chairman of The Hut Group, Chairman of Howdens Joinery PLC and Chairman elect of Fenwicks.