FTSE 100 gets 6th female CEO as Whitbread appoints Lloyds retail boss
Whitbread, owners of Costa Coffee and Premier Inn, appoint Alison Brittain as CEO.
Hospitality group Whitbread has announced plans to appoint Alison Brittain as chief executive officer (CEO) in a move that will make it the sixth FTSE-100 company to have a female at the helm.
Ms Brittain is the current boss of the retail side of Lloyds Banking Group, making her one of the most powerful women in the city. But despite having no previous hospitality experience, she was quoted to be the “perfect fit” for Whitbread’s culture and values by chairman Richard Baker.
“We ran an extensive search and selection process and Alison was the standout candidate from a very strong field,” added Mr Baker.
It’s also noteworthy to point out the similarities between Lloyds and Costa, as both have close to 2,000 branches or outlets and between 25 and 30 million customers.
Whitbread has a history of hiring newcomers to the hospitality trade, as the current chief executive Andy Harrison was in charge of easyJet and RAC car breakdown service before joining the group.
Previously, Ms Brittain held senior positions at Santander and Barclays, and worked at the latter bank for 19 years, so she’s no stranger to the corporate world. She’s also a non-executive director at Marks and Spencer, taking up the role because of her love for the business.
“I am absolutely delighted to have been chosen to lead Whitbread,” said Ms Brittain, and added that she believed its values lie “very close to my heart”.
“Whitbread has a clear strategy and I am looking forward to leading the company as it grows and delivers for its customers, its people and its shareholders,” she said.
Meanwhile, her upcoming departure from Lloyds has prompted a reshuffling of management at the bank. She was seen as a favourite to replace the current chief executive, António Horta-Osório, after he announced he was stepping down last month.
Ms Brittain will join the company in January and Mr Harrison will handover the reins in February. She’s expected to earn a base salary of £775,000 and will be able to purchase £500,000 worth of shares in the business. Once benefits and performance-related bonuses are included, her total package is expected to top £6 million.