The chairman of the UK's largest pub company Punch Taverns is to retire from his role early next year after four years in the job.
Phil Cox announced today his intention to step down at the company's annual general meeting on 27 January 2007.
He will be succeeded by Peter Cawdron, who has been a non-executive director at the pub company since May 2003.
Cawdron's executive career has spanned Grand Metropolitan and SG Warburg, with non-executive positions at Compass Group and food manufacturer Arla.
Following the acquisition of Spirit Group early this year, Punch has promoted Andrew Knight, who became managing director of the Spirit business in February, to the board.
Punch, which completed the £2.7b acquisition of Spirit in January of this year, said its strategy to rationalise the business was now largely complete.
By the company's year end on 19 August it had sold 351 Spirit pubs, with 38 more disposed of since.
Punch has simplified the Spirit business into three divisions: Value Food, Quality Dining and Quality Locals, and said its lease conversion programme was progressing well.
So far, 155 managed pubs have been converted to lease with a further 175 at the legal contract stage. The company said it had now entered its third and final conversion stage, comprising 266 pubs, which it expected to complete next summer.
By Chris Druce
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