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

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.

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

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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