Jo Whitfield, Matalan
Jo Whitfield
Chief Executive


Jo is CEO of Matalan and until recently Chief Executive of Food for The Co-operative Group (Co-op). She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2021 New Year honours for services in feeding the nation during the Covid pandemic and has previously been awarded the prestigious Veuve Cliquot Businesswoman of the Year prize.

A qualified accountant, Jo’s career began with Ernst & Young, before broadening her experience in finance with companies such as Northern Foods, Matalan and Asda. She strengthened her knowledge of Clothing retail at George, taking on key roles spanning Operations, e-Commerce, International and Strategy. Latterly, she led the commercial, buying and merchandising teams for Asda Money, Asda Mobile and General Merchandise. She is experienced in all aspects of commercial and operational activities, has deep understanding of e-Commerce and use of digital technology, and is accomplished in start-ups and major business transactions including M&A.

Jo is a modern, positive leader who spends proper time with people, listening to and understanding their perspectives. She puts tremendous value on employee job satisfaction and has instigated numerous changes to promote professional development, well-being, safety and support for colleagues. This led to her campaign to promote store colleague safety, going to the heart of Government to meet ministers and press the case for greater legal protection for shop workers. In addition, Jo and her team brought pace and innovation to commitments around sustainability.

Outside of her executive role, Jo’s activities are mainly focused around inclusivity, mentoring and networking. Jo is also a Non-Executive Director for Factory International.

Further to this, one of her key achievements was pioneering a network for the grocery industry called Grocery Girls. This was a trailblazing initiative that has drawn support from major retailers and suppliers, bringing women together to share experiences, career journeys and inspiration. The network is now expanding under Young Foodies (YF).