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Supermarket bosses made CBEs for food supply chain efforts

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Steve Murrells, the chief executive of Co-op (Co-op/PA)
Steve Murrells, the chief executive of Co-op (Co-op/PA)

The boss of the Co-op and a former chief of Asda have received honours for their actions to keep shelves stocked across the country amid the pandemic.

Steve Murrells, chief executive of the Co-op Group and Roger Burnley, who stepped down as Asda chief executive earlier this year, will made CBEs.

The pair have been recognised for services to the food supply chain, the Government said.

It comes after a year when supermarkets, hospitality firms and suppliers worked to avoid shortages as staff numbers, pandemic restrictions and global disruption caused difficulties.

Fresh products such as poultry saw particular pressure in the summer before the Government issued emergency visas for workers in supply chains.

Former Asda chief executive Roger Burnley (Asda/PA) (PA Media)
Former Asda chief executive Roger Burnley (Asda/PA) (PA Media)

Last year, Ocado Retail boss Mel Smith was also made a CBE for her efforts helping to keep food on tables during the pandemic.

Steve Murrells has led the Co-op Group since 2017, having previously been the chief executive of its retail arm for five years.

“It is a great honour to receive this award, which reflects and acknowledges the journey our Co-op has been on in recent years,” he said.

“Every day we are making a positive difference to the lives of millions of Co-op members, customers and the communities in which they live.

“This award recognises the broader social impact a strong and vibrant Co-op can make within society, and the tireless support of 60,000 incredible Co-op colleagues in making this happen.”

Allan Leighton chairman of the Co-op, said: “This is a proud day for Steve and his family and recognises the outstanding contribution he has made to the Co-op and the wider retail and business sector over many years.

“He has played a vital role in the rebuild and renaissance of our business and he is a shining example that an acute financial sense can go hand in hand with a wider social conscience and purpose.”

Mr Burnley had been chief executive of Asda since January 2018, having joined the company in 2016 as deputy chief executive, but left earlier this year following its £6.8 billion takeover by the Issa brothers and TDR Capital.

He had been expected to stay on until April 2022 as part of the transition but stepped down ahead of schedule in August.

Mr Burnley said: “I am incredibly proud, and humbled, by this recognition. Everyone in the UK food industry has done an amazing job against the relentless backdrop of the Covid pandemic and no one more so than our fantastic Asda colleagues, who have worked tirelessly and selflessly throughout to feed the nation.”

Jo Scott, a shop floor worker and Community Champion at Asda’s Pwllheli, north-west Wales, site also received an BEM.

Asda’s owners Mohsin and Zuber Issa added: “We’re delighted and incredibly proud that once again our great business has been recognised in the New Year Honours list.

“We are constantly impressed by the hard work and dedication of all the team here at Asda and these Honours are well-deserved recognition – not just of Roger and Jo – but of everything everyone at Asda has done throughout the pandemic to support the communities they serve.”

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