The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has announced the appointment of Central England Co-operative chief executive Debbie Robinson as its new chair, with independent retailer Paul Stone taking on the vice chair role.

Debbie Robinson, who will take the place of Sewell Retail managing director Patrick Sewell from November, said: “I am honoured to be able to contribute to the amazing work that ACS carries out on behalf of such a diverse range of members. 

“Our communities thrive when they have well run, safe convenience stores at their heart and so I want to ensure that we, as an organisation, make use of the latest in innovation to provide a truly relevant and progressive offer to our members and their customers”

Paul Stone, owner of the Manchester-based Stone Spar group of stores, added: “I am delighted to take up the role of vice chair at ACS in its 25th year.

“As an independent retailer, I look forward to representing the interests of smaller stores in these challenging times.”

Patrick has served as chair since November 2016 and will remain on the ACS board.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Patrick has been an outstanding chair over the last three years, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to ACS as we have continued to grow as an effective lobby group for the convenience sector.

“I am delighted to see Debbie taking on the role of chair, with Paul supporting her, as we move into our 25th year of being the voice of local shops.”

Debbie and Paul will take on the roles of chair and vice chair respectively from 1 November 2019, with Paul continuing in his role as a member of the independent board. 

David Roberts, managing director of Co-op Food Property, will continue in the role of deputy vice chair.