Industry giant Whitbread today named a leading banking executive as its new chief executive, on a salary of £775,000 a year.
The company, which owns brands such as Costa, Beefeater, Brewers Fayre and Premier Inn, said that after an “extensive search” it has settled on Alison Brittain to lead the business once incumbent Andy Harrison retires from full-time executive life at the end of February 2016.
Although Whitbread informed the market of her appointment today, she will not officially take the reins until January next year.
Her task will be to transform the group into an ever bigger powerhouse than it already is. By 2020 the company plans to increase the number of Premier Inn UK rooms to around 85,000 and achieve global system sales of around £2.5 billion for Costa.
Brittain is currently group director of the retail division at Lloyds Banking Group, which she joined in 2011. Previously, the 50-year-old has held senior roles at Santander and Barclays. She is also a non executive director of Marks and Spencer Group.
Whitbread chairman, Richard Baker, said: “We ran an extensive search and selection process and Alison was the stand-out candidate from a very strong field. Alison has vast experience in successfully managing multi-site operations with leading brands.
“She has a natural ability to inspire and motivate large customer-facing teams to deliver great service and her strong personal belief in the importance of putting the customer at the heart of the business makes her a perfect fit with our culture and values. Alison also has proven experience in delivering digital online and mobile technology, business to business marketing, and managing significant property portfolios.”
As the chief executive of Whitbread, Brittain will oversee a company that employs 45,000 people across more than 2,000 outlets in the UK. The London-listed outfit made sales of £2.6 billion last year and achieved underlying pre-tax profits of £488m
Brittain said this morning that she is looking forward to developing the business further and building on its customer-focused culture. “Whitbread has a clear strategy and I am looking forward to leading the Company as it grows and delivers for its customers, its people and its shareholders,” she commented.
Full details of Alison Brittain’s remuneration will be included in Whitbread’s 2015/16 Remuneration Report, however the company confirmed that she would receive a base salary of £775,000 and a pension allowance of 25% of this figure.
She will be eligible to participate in the Directors’ Incentive Scheme up to 167% of salary per annum and in the LTIP for 200% of salary.
Brittain will receive two LTIP grants of 175% of salary – one expiring in March 2017 and the other in March 2018 using the same performance conditions as for other directors. Additionally, Whitbread said she will be purchasing around £500,000 worth of Whitbread shares on joining the company.