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Tue 15th Jul 2014 - Breaking News - Whitbread names new chairman
Whitbread unveils new chairman: Whitbread has announced the appointment of Richard Baker as chairman with effect from 1 September 2014. He succeeds Anthony Habgood who, after nine years as chairman, announced in January his decision to step down from the board. Richard Baker has been an independent non-executive director on the Whitbread Board since September 2009. He is currently chairman of Virgin Active Group, a role he has held since 2008 and chairman of DFS Furniture Holdings where he has been since 2010. Baker was previously chief executive of (Alliance) Boots Group from 2003 to 2007 and prior to that was chief operating officer at Asda Group. Sir Ian Cheshire, Whitbread’s senior independent director who led the Nominations Committee process, said: “We have conducted a thorough search, with the help of executive search consultants, to identify the most suitable person to become the next chairman of Whitbread. 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.” Commenting on his appointment, Richard Baker said: “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. “Anthony Habgood added: “It has been a privilege to have been the chairman of Whitbread over 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. I wish Richard and everyone at Whitbread every success in the future.”

Vianet – trading in the pub sector remain flat: Vianet Group, the leading provider of real time monitoring systems and data management services for the leisure, vending, and forecourt services sectors, will be holding its Annual General Meeting today. Chairman James Dickson will provide the following trading update at today’s meeting: “The first quarter of the current year has started largely as anticipated with trading in the pub sector remaining flat ahead of the implementation of the Statutory Code, which was announced by the Government in early June. The group’s other business areas have made good progress. In Vending Solutions, our coffee vending telemetry systems have continued to make further gains and Vianet Fuel Solutions is trading profitably. The board is pleased that the uncertainty around the Statutory Code is being lifted as this has had, for some time, a detrimental impact on the Group’s core beer monitoring business. Whilst the company is satisfied with the outcome, the board remains conscious that the legislative implementation of the wider Statutory Code may remain a distraction for our customers for a period of time yet. The board is optimistic for the medium and long-term prospects of the group and this confidence is reflected in its decision to maintain the final dividend of 4p per share. The group’s progress provides an encouraging outlook for 2015 and the board remains committed to delivering shareholder value.”

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