Whitbread to go for female chief executive

Alison Brittain will become one of an elite band of bosses. Picture: PA
Alison Brittain will become one of an elite band of bosses. Picture: PA
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A TOP executive at Lloyds is to become one of just a handful of female FTSE 100 bosses after being appointed to lead Premier Inn and Costa coffee owner Whitbread.

Alison Brittain will boost the ranks of female chief executives of the 100 top-flight firms – currently numbering just five – after being poached from the state-backed banking group.

Brittain, head of Lloyds’s retail division, will have a base salary of £775,000 at Whitbread, as well as being eligible for incentive schemes and receiving performance-related share awards multiplying the potential value of her pay package.

She will join Whitbread next year and succeed current chief executive Andy Harrison who is to retire in February after overseeing the expansion of the group and who earlier this year hailed “outstanding” annual results as profits rose to £488.1 million.

Chairman Richard Baker said: “We are delighted to have secured someone of Alison’s calibre. We ran an extensive search and selection process and Alison was the standout candidate from a very strong field.”

Brittain added: “I am absolutely delighted to have been chosen to lead Whitbread. I am impressed by its success and its strong, well loved brands.”

She joined Lloyds in 2011, having previously held senior roles at Santander UK and Barclays. Brittain is also a non-executive director of Marks & Spencer.

Lloyds chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio said: “Alison has played a significant role in leading the transformation of our retail businesses and I thank her for her contribution.”

The bank said that under her leadership, the retail business “has been revitalised and has made great strides in adapting to a new regulatory environment, changing customer demands and advances in technology”. Brittain will leave the group in July.

Current female FTSE 100 chief executives are: Kingfisher’s Veronique Laury, Severn Trent’s Liv Garfield, Moya Greene of Royal Mail, Alison Cooper at Imperial Tobacco and EasyJet’s Carolyn McCall.