James Lancaster, the McColl’s Retail Group’s co-founder and non-executive director who helped grow the business into one of the UK’s largest independent convenience retailers, has quit the board.

Lancaster said he was “extremely proud” of the business he co-founded more than 40 years ago but now was the right time for time for him to stand down.

“I have every confidence that under the stewardship of the board, and in the capable hands of Jonathan Miller [chief executive] and his superb management team, McColl’s will continue to thrive.”

McColl’s has grown to 1,650 managed convenience stores and newsagents and is also the largest operator of Post Offices in the UK with nearly 600 in-store counters or branches.

Angus Porter, chairman, acknowledged the role Lancaster had played in McColl’s growth and wished him “all the best with his future endeavours”.

C-Store understands that Lancaster is likely to play a key role in a Palmer & Harvey rescue deal.