Nick Read has announced his decision to step down as chief executive of Nisa Retail Limited just days before the Co-op is expected to make a formal offer to takeover the company.
Nisa has confirmed that has “engaged in a succession planning process”, with a new chief executive to be announced in due course.
Read stepped into the role almost three years ago in December 2014, and with the help of chief financial officer Robin Brown, he has been credited with stabilising and bringing the convenience grocery chain back to profit.
In July 2016, Nisa reported EBITDA of £7.3 million, reversing the previous year‘s loss, and marking the largest annual EBITDA swing in the member-owned retailer‘s 40-year history.
In 2017 EBITDA rose again to £8.6 million, with profit before tax of £2.8 million.
Following Tesco’s proposed £3.7 billion acquisition of convenience retailer and grocery wholesaler Booker announced earlier this year, Nisa received a number of expressions of interest.
At first it engaged in negotiations with Sainsbury’s, but it is now in exclusive talks with The Co-Op and a deal could be announced within days.
However, any proposed acquisition deals of Nisa must have majority approval from its 1400 members.
“My time at Nisa has been both challenging and eventful, and I am proud of our collective success in turning the business round,” Read said.
“The return to profitable growth was key to creating the confidence that enabled a sustainable business model for the benefit of all Nisa members.
“I am grateful for all the support I have received from colleagues and members.”
Nisa chairman Peter Hartley added: “We are grateful to Nick for his leadership during a challenging period for Nisa and the wider convenience sector.
“Nick and his team have brought much needed stability to Nisa, and he will leave the business in a significantly improved financial position.”