Paul Walsh may turn from Diageo to role at Compass

Paul Walsh will remain at Diageo for a handover period. Picture: PA
Paul Walsh will remain at Diageo for a handover period. Picture: PA
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OUTGOING Diageo chief executive Paul Walsh is believed to have been lined up as the new chairman of Compass, the catering giant that serves about four billion meals a year.

Walsh, who has spent 13 years running Scotland’s largest whisky distiller, steps down from the top job at the end of this month. He will remain with the maker of Guinness and Johnny Walker for another year to help new boss Ivan Menezes, who has been promoted from chief operating officer, settle in.

Compass chairman Sir Roy Gardner – a senior adviser to Credit Suisse who is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts – has been at the helm since 2006 and will retire following its annual meeting in February.

The firm counts the Bank of Japan and the UK’s Ministry of Defence among its clients, but its biggest market is the United States, which accounts for almost half its revenues. Chief executive Richard Cousins has also been overseeing a drive into emerging markets and other fast-growing regions such as Australia, India and Turkey.

Compass generated revenues of £16.9 billion in the year to 30 September 2012. It operates in about 50 countries, employing more than 500,000 people. The group could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Walsh, who is also a non-executive director of consumer goods group Unilever and satellite communications firm Avanti, will retire from Diageo with shares worth about £15.5 million. He also has a pension pot worth £19.2m, which would pay out £578,000 a year.

• EDRINGTON, owner of The Famous Grouse and Highland Park whiskies, is understood to be planning to expand its presence in the US, which accounts for about a fifth of its revenues, as part of a £10m investment aimed at growing its exports.