Andy Harrison to retire as Whitbread chief executive

28 April 2015 by
Andy Harrison to retire as Whitbread chief executive

Whitbread's chief executive Andy Harrison is to retire following five years in the role, during which time the company has risen in value from £2.5b to £9.7b.

He will step down at the end of the current financial year, ending February 2016. Richard Baker, chairman of the group has kick started the process to select Harrison's replacement.

The announcement of Harrison's departure was made alongside another strong set of annual results for the group, which including new ambitious growth plans for its Premier Inn and Costa Coffee brands.

During 2014/15 Whitbread achieved a 18.5% increase in pre-tax profit to £488.1m on a turnover of £2.6b (up 13.7%).

Premier Inn, which currently has 59,138 bedrooms across nearly 700 hotels, is now set to have around 85,000 rooms open by 2020 (up from its previous target of 75,000 by 2018).

Meanwhile, Costa Coffee sales are forecast to increase from its current annual figure of £1.4b to £2.5b in 2020 (up from previous forecast of £2b by 2018).

Baker said that Whitbread has gone from strength to strength under Harrison's leadership during which it has delivered "consistent rapid and profitable growth" built around strong brands and a unique culture.

"Over the past five years our revenues have grown by 13% per annum, driving a 17% per annum growth in our earnings per share, which has increased the company's market capitalisation from £2.5b to £9.7b. Whitbread has a clear strategy, ambitious growth milestones and the strength of leadership to successfully deliver these goals."

Harrison added that he had thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Whitbread family. "It is a great company which has built some of the UK's favourite brands by putting our people and our customers at the heart of everything we do.

"After 18 years as chief executive of three different public companies it is time for me to plan my retirement from full time executive life and to seek new challenges. In the meantime, it is business as usual, which means that the Whitbread team and myself remain fully focused on continuing to deliver profitable growth."

Harrison , who previously headed EastJet and the RAC, took over from former chief executive Alan Parker in November 2010.

EasyJet boss Andy Harrison to succeed Alan Parker at Whitbread >>

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