Managing director of Whitbread Hotels & Restaurants (WHR) Patrick Dempsey is to step down from the board and leave the company from 28 February 2015.
The news comes 10 years after Dempsey joined Whitbread, and one year after he won the Outstanding Contribution Award at the 2013 Hotel Cateys. Paul Flaum, currently managing director of Whitbread Restaurants, who has been with the company for 11 years, will take over as the new managing director of WHR on 1 March. Current marketing and strategy director Simon Jones will become managing director of Premier Inn UK and Hub by Premier Inn.
The announcement also follows today's strong trading results, in particular in the company's hotel division, in part thanks to the launch and planned expansion of Hub by Premier Inn.
Chief executive Andy Harrison said: "I would like to thank Patrick for his tremendous contribution to Whitbread over the last decade. During this time we have transformed Premier Inn into the UK's biggest and best hotel chain and developed exciting new growth opportunities…We have very ambitious growth plans which, combined with the strength of our current performance, makes it a good time to implement our succession plans."
Chairman Richard Baker called Dempsey an outstanding hotelier who had helped to significantly grow the brand, and added: "His personal passion for a great guest experience and high team motivation are evident across Premier Inn. On behalf of all my Board colleagues, I'd like to thank Patrick for all he has done, and wish him every success for the future."
Dempsey himself commented that he was proud of his achievements with Premier Inn and Whitbread Restaurants, and felt that the company's current state of expansion meant it was the right time to "hand over the baton".