Overall ranking: 29
Hoteliers ranking: 9
The enlarged group now operates 457 hotels with more than 28,000 bedrooms.
Tye, who is in his early fifties, started out as a graduate trainee at United Biscuits, where he spent three years in sales and marketing roles. He than ran his own wine retail, wholesale and distribution business for five years.
He joined Whitbread as marketing director of Stowells of Chelsea. Ensuing roles included marketing and buying director of the Thresher's off-licence chain, managing director of Whitbread restaurants in Germany in Belgium, and marketing and commercial director at Beefeater.
Tye then moved to Forte's restaurant division before taking on the roles of brand director of worldwide hotels and, in 1995, sales and marketing director at Welcome Break. In 1996 he joined contract caterer Aramark to be managing director of its food services division for nearly three years.
He returned to Whitbread as sales and marketing director of Whitbread Inns. During its reorganisation in 2000, he worked with both the Pubs and Bars and the Whitbread Restaurants division.
In 2001 Tye became managing director of Costa Coffee where he boosted its profitability and oversaw its international expansion. He replaced Carl Leaver as managing director of Travel Inn in 2003.
What we think
Tye has had a long and diverse career in hospitality and his work with Whitbread's restaurant's division in 2000 gave him a valuable insight into the pub-restaurant brands (Beefeater and Brewer's Fayre) that are co-located with one-third of the group's budget hotels.
Travel Inn has long been a star performer at Whitbread, so it made perfect sense to bolster its market-leading status by merging it with Premier Lodge. The move put the merged group streets ahead of its nearest budget rival, Travelodge, which has 257 properties.
Premier Lodge had been built up by Scottish & Newcastle, which subsequently sold the 141-strong brand to the Spirit Group in 2003 as part of a £2.5b package of 1,400 pubs, restaurants and hotels. Spirit sold Premier Lodge to Whitbread for £536.2m in a deal that included 19 adjacent pub-restaurants which have been converted into Brewers Fayres.
In the year to 4 March 2004, Travel Inn reported an operating profit of £73m on sales of £229.8m. In the six months to 2 September, sales of the enlarged group were up 224% to £142m while operating profit, at £49.1m, was 28% ahead of the same period of 2003.
The plan is to add 1,500 new rooms each year over the next five to six years to boost bedroom numbers to 40,000. Whitbread's plans to exit the four-star hotel market through the sale of its 52 franchised Marriott and Renaissance hotel over the next two years will leave it free to focus on its budget brand.