Successor sought

Whitbread begins search to replace CEO Brittain

Allison Brittain has grown the Premier Inn chain

Whitbread has begun searching for a chief executive to replace Alison Brittain who is preparing to styep down from the Premier Inn owner after seven years.

Ms Brittain joined Whitbread in 2015 from Lloyds Bank, where she was director of retail banking, and is currently one of just nine female CEOs of a FTSE 100 company.

Whitbread is working with headhunters at Spencer Stuart to find a replacement for the 57-year-old who, along with chairman Adam Crozier, stunned the City in 2019 by selling the highly-successful Costa coffee chain to Coca-Cola for £3.9bn.

Aside from that deal Ms Brittain is credited with taking Premier Inn into Germany and was able to report that despite the devastating impact of the pandemic on the hotels sector sales at Premier Inn in the quarter to 25 November were 5.5% up on 2019. However, Whitbread’s shares are down by about 25% during her tenure against a similar rise in the FTSE 100.

The Sunday Times reports that John Rogers, finance director of WPP, whose agencies include GroupM and Ogilvy, is among early candidates interested in succeeding Ms Brittain.

He joined WPP in 2020 from Sainsbury’s, where he helped oversee the supermarket’s takeover of catalogue retailer Argos, which he then ran for three years.

Whitbread sold its historic brewing business in 1999 and over the years has offloaded David Lloyd Leisure, Marriott Hotels, TGI Fridays and Pizza Hut.

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