The former CFO of Morrisons, Richard Pennycook, is to join rival UK grocer The Co-operative Group as finance director.

Pennycook, who spent eight years at Morrisons, will take up his role on 1 July, initially on an interim basis. He announced his departure from Morrisons in June last year in order to concentrate on “building a portfolio career”.

Of the appointment, Pennycook said: “I am delighted to be joining The Co-operative Group to help drive its development. With its strong brand and loyal customer base, the Group is ideally positioned to address the challenges it now faces.”

Pennycook’s appointment was announced today (5 June) alongside that of Richard Pym, who will chair the Co-op’s troubled banking arm. Last week, the Co-op also unveiled former HSBC executive Niall Booker as chief executive of the banking division – and as deputy chief executive of the entire group.

The appointments are the first made under the tenure of new chief executive Euan Sutherland, who joined the business earlier this year.

Sutherland faces a number of challenges at the Co-op, which in March booked a drop in full-year earnings for 2012, with investments in pricing pushing food profits lower.