Whitbread confirms chief exec will step down

Andy Harrison

Whitbread today announced that chief executive Andy Harrison is to retire from the company.

Harrison has been in the role for the past five years, overseeing strong top-line growth and the trebling of its market capitalisation.

Whitbread said the retirement would take place by February 2016. “A process to identify Andy’s successor is underway,” confirmed chairman Richard Baker.

News of Harrison’s impending departure came as Whitbread revealed that sales had increased 6.5% over the past year, while profits rose 13% to £366m.

“This is another strong set of results, once again demonstrating the strength of the Premier Inn and Costa brands,” stated Baker. “We have today published 2020 milestones which show our belief in the continuing profitable growth opportunities available to both of those businesses. Along with our focus on the customer and disciplined investment, it will be our people who will enable us to reach those milestones.”

The company said it would continue to invest in strengthening its brands and organic network growth, including in selected international markets.

Its capital investment will rise to circa £700m this financial year, up from £565m in 2014/15. Its investment programme has created around 3,000 new UK jobs and around 1,000 apprenticeships.

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