The boss of pub company Punch Taverns is to become the new chief executive of bakery chain Greggs.
Roger Whiteside, a former head of Marks & Spencer’s food business, will take over from Ken McMeikan, who announced his intention to stand down in December last year.
Mr Whiteside, 54, is already on the board of Greggs, having served as a non-executive director since March 2008.
His current job as chief executive of Punch involves a portfolio of around 4,500 leasehold pubs.
His career began at M&S where he spent 20 years before guiding grocery delivery chain Ocado as joint managing director in its early days between 2000 and 2004.
He later led off-licence chain Threshers until 2007.
He said: “Greggs is a great business with an iconic brand that has strengthened considerably over the past few years. I believe we have a great future.” Mr Whiteside will take up the role from February 4 and, following a handover period, Mr McMeikan will leave the company on March 8.
Greggs has more than 1,650 outlets across the UK.
N+1 Singer analyst Sahill Shan said: “Roger Whiteside’s Plc and extensive consumer facing experience will serve Greggs well. We await to see what strategic changes, if any, he puts through in the months ahead.”
Mr McMeikan, who led a successful campaign against the Government’s ‘pasty tax’ last year, is leaving to take the top job at catering group Brakes.
Greggs’ chairman Derek Netherton said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ken for his leadership.
“Despite the double-dip recession, the company has grown its core estate significantly, opening record numbers of new shops in a variety of locations and for- mats.”