Central England Co-op welcomes new Chief Executive Debbie Robinson

Central England Co-op today welcomes its new Chief Executive Debbie Robinson on her first day with the Society.

Debbie was appointed in November last year and will oversee one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK with over 8,000 staff and over 400 trading outlets across 16 counties.

Debbie will take over from Martyn Cheatle who will be retiring in April after successfully leading Central England Co-op since 2010.

Previously, Debbie has worked for over 30 years with the likes of Co-op Group, Marks & Spencer and WHSmith among others and most recently held the position of UK Managing Director at SPAR UK.

Debbie commented:  “I am looking forward to meeting colleagues across the Society and becoming a part of an organisation that genuinely makes a positive community impact.

“I am excited to be joining a progressive, forward-looking business.  I look forward to building on the fantastic work Martyn has done and working with the team to ensure Central England Co-op fulfils its ambitions and potential, making a real difference for our customers, members and communities.

“My vision for the future of Central England Co-op is to grow sustainably and make the most of the Society’s key USP; our co-operative values and principles.”

Debbie will be responsible for developing the strategic and commercial direction of the Society. 

Elaine Dean, Society President, said: “All at Central England Co-op are delighted to welcome Debbie in her new role as Chief Executive.

“Debbie joins at an exciting time of growth and development for us and we can’t wait to see how she uses her vast experience in the retail sector, combined with co-operative values, to take us forward as a dynamic and independent co-operative.”

Added to her retail expertise, Debbie also sits on the boards of the Association of Convenience Stores and the British Retail Consortium. Outside of work Debbie has many hobbies and interests in the arts and music world. She is a very keen marathon runner and has completed numerous charity cycle rides including the convenience and wholesale charity cycles for Mines Advisory Group.


Notes to editors

                Picture caption: Debbie Robinson, Chief Executive of Central England Co-operative.


Here is a closer look at some of Martyn Cheatle’s achievements from his time as Central England Co-operative Chief Executive:

  • The Society was the first UK retailer to gain all four Carbon Trust standards
  • Launched a ground-breaking food redistribution project
  • The Society raised millions for corporate charities including Newlife and Dementia UK
  • There are now food banks in over 90% of Food Stores, with 2018 a record year for donations with over 250,000 items distributed to those in need
  • The Society has grown with the transfers of Anglia, Shepley and Wooldale societies
  • The number of Food Stores has grown from 168 to 266 and Funeral Homes from 81 to 131
  • Central England Co-operative has twice been named Leading Co-operative of the Year
  • The Society’s carbon footprint has been reduced by 48%


About Central England Co-operative

Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK. 


It is a modern, forward-looking organisation employing over 8,000 staff, with the Society’s principal areas of activity being food, funeral services, travel shops, and property investment.


Central England Co-operative has over 400 trading outlets across 16 counties including; West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.  The Society has an ambitious food store development programme for 2019.


Central England Co-operative is proud of its reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.  It is a member of Business in the Community, the membership organisation that stands for responsible business, and has also won many business awards for excellence.  The Society supports a number of charities including Dementia UK and invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities.


Becoming a member of Central England Co-operative offers a whole host of benefits ranging from collecting points every time you spend in store to earn a share of the profits, access to members activities and community initiatives including the Community Dividend Fund, which hands out grants of up to £5,000 to charities and good causes across the Society’s trading estate.

Find out how to become a Central England Co-operative member by calling 0800 0501 601, emailing members@centralengland.coop or visiting https://www.members.coop


For more information visit www.centralengland.coop, follow Central England Co-operative on Twitter: @mycoopfood, and on Facebook: facebook.com/centralenglandcooperative


Rob Smyth and James Brindle at Central England Co-operative on 01543 421390


Email – publicrelations@centralengland.coop