Catering and hotels giant Whitbread has announced that chairman Anthony Habgood will step down from the board later this year.
Habgood has been chairman since 2005, having overseen the growth of several of the company's key brands, including Premier Inn and Costa Coffee. His successor is being sought by senior independent director Sir Ian Cheshire, with an announcement on the new appointment expected later in the year.
Speaking of the announcement, Habgood said: "It has been a pleasure to be chairman over a period of rapid growth. With the company having a strong board and a clear strategy for growth, I believe that this year is an appropriate time to hand over to a successor."
Whitbread is currently in a period of expansion, with plans to increase the number of Premier Inn hotel rooms to 75,000 across the UK, and double the global system sales of Costa Coffee to £2b by 2018.
It has seen strong sales figures over recent months, including an increase of 13% noted at the end of November last year. Both Premier Inn and Costa posted significant like-for-like sales increases, with Costa's total sales rising by 19.4%.
It is set to open its first "hub by Premier Inn" venture, featuring "pod-like" rooms in central London, by the end of 2014.
The company also owns the Beefeater chain, Brewers Fayre, Table Table and Taybarns, and employs over 43,000 people across the UK.