Whitbread share price rises as group picks ex-ITV boss as new chairman

Costa Coffee owner appoints Adam Crozier amid break-up speculation

Whitbread share price rises as group picks ex-ITV boss as new chairman

Shares in Whitbread (LON:WTB) have gained ground in London this morning as the company announced that it had appointed ITV’s (LON:ITV) former boss Adam Crozier as its new chairman. The move comes after reports recently suggested that an activist investor had built up a stake in the company and was likely to push for a break-up of the Costa Coffee and Premier Inn owner.

As of 08:28 GMT, Whitbread’s share price had added 0.78 percent to 4,005.00p, having jumped more than one percent higher in earlier trade. The shares are currently outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.19 percent higher at 7,685.63 points.

Whitbread appoints Adam Crozier

Whitbread announced in a statement this morning that its chairman Richard Baker would retire from the board on February 28, having completed nine years of service. He will be succeeded by Adam Crozier, currently the senior independent director.

Crozier’s former roles include chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi, the Football Association, Royal Mail (LON:RMG) and most recently ITV, where he is credited with improving the broadcaster’s performance by reducing its reliance on advertising.

“We have conducted a thorough, independent, external appointment process and it was evident that Adam was the best candidate to become our next Chairman,” Chris Kennedy, a Whitbread PLC Non-Executive Director, who led the selection process, commented in the statement.

‘Next chapter’

Crozier meanwhile noted that he was ‘delighted’ to become chairman of the company and help steer it “through the next chapter of its long history”.

“We have a very strong management team and an exciting plan to continue to deliver growth in our core UK businesses, whilst developing our international business through growth in Germany, China and Costa Express,” he pointed out.

The news comes after analysts at Barclays lifted their price target on the stock yesterday, after posing the question what if the blue chip leisure giant decided to sell Costa Coffee and its hotels real estate.

As of 08:56 GMT, Thursday, 04 January, Whitbread plc share price is 4,003.00p.

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