Whitbread has appointed Richard Baker as chairman. He will assume the role from 1 September, when Anthony Habgood will step down after nine years in the role.
Baker has been a non-executive director on the Whitbread board since September 2009. He has been chairman of Virgin Active Group since 2008 and DFS Furniture Holdings since 2010. Prior to his chairmanships Baker was chief executive of (Alliance) Boots Group from 2003 to 2007, having also been chief operating offer at Asda Group.
Sir Ian Cheshire, Whitbread's senior independent director, said: "We were lucky enough to have a very strong field of potential candidates but at the end it was clear to us that Richard was the best choice to take on the role of chairman. He has a very strong record in both managing and chairing consumer businesses, a deep understanding of Whitbread's operations through his role as a non-executive and a strong empathy with our ethos, culture and commitment to serving our customers. We are delighted that he has accepted the role."
Baker added: "Throughout my time on the board, I have admired the strength of the company's businesses and brands. I strongly endorse the common values shared throughout the group and its consistent focus on putting the customer first. It will be an honour to become chairman of this great company, and I look forward to it continuing to deliver on its strategy for growth. "
Habgood said it had been a privilege to be chairman for the past nine years.
"It is a company with tremendous potential and I'm sure that Richard is the right person to chair the board for the next phase of its development," he added.