Richard Baker appointed Whitbread chairman

Premier Inn and Costa owner Whitbread has just given word that Richard Baker has been appointed as chairman, taking over the role from Anthony Habgood.

Whitbread also owns Table Table, Beefeater and other restaurant brands.

Mr Baker will take over the chairman role at the beginning of September. It comes after Mr Habgood gave word of his decision to leave Whitbread's board in January. He had been chairman for nine years.

Since September 2009, Mr Baker has held the role of non-executive director on Whitbread's Board. His other current roles are DFS Furniture Holdings chairman and Virgin Active Group chairman.

In the past he's been (Alliance) Boots Group chief executive and Asda chief operating officer.

"Throughout my time on the [Whitbread] 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," Mr Baker has said.

He also said becoming chair is going to be an honour, adding that he is looking forward to carrying on delivering Whitbread's expansion strategy.

Senior independent director for Whitbread, Sir Ian Cheshire, was in charge of the Nominations Committee process for the appointment.

He said the search to find the best person to be the new chair had been thorough.

Mr Baker was the best person for the job, he explained. "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."

Whitbread is responsible for employing a large number of people in hospitality jobs. Overall, its employees number some 43,000 people in its UK outlets and serves some 22 million customers here on a monthly basis.

It has set a target for 2018 to have an overall total of some 75,000 Premier Inn rooms in the UK, and to double Costa in size.

Berkeley Scott is a specialist recruitment agency to help source hospitality recruitment jobs.