CO-OPERATIVE Group chief executive Euan Sutherland has reportedly offered to quit, saying the business is ungovernable.

Mr Sutherland, who took over at the company last May, is said to have written a resignation letter to the board in a back-me-or-sack-me move.

Members of the board are trying to persuade him to stay, according to the BBC.

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The leaking of details about his bumper pay deal - which he felt was an attempt to destabilise him and prevent him pushing through reforms - was reported to be a factor in his decision last night.

A spokeswoman for the group could not immediately be contacted for confirmation of the report.

It emerged at the weekend that Mr Sutherland was to receive a deal worth £3.6m despite the Co-op facing a £2bn loss after the biggest crisis in its history.

The group is facing large-scale job cuts after a disastrous year in which its banking arm needed to be rescued when a £1.5bn hole was discovered in its balance sheet.

It is now facing an overhaul as well as a series of investigations into what went wrong, as well as continuing questions over the appointment of disgraced bank chairman Paul Flowers despite a lack of knowledge of the sector.

Mr Flowers was later exposed in a newspaper drugs sting.