Whitbread CEO Harrison to leave as profits surge

Britain's biggest hotel and coffee shop operator Whitbread said on Tuesday its chief executive Andy Harrison would retire by next February as it posted a better than expected rise in full-year profit.

Harrison, who has grown Whitbread considerably since joining in September 2010 from easyJet will become Chairman of British homewares retailer Dunelm on July 7 this year.

Whitbread said it had started the search for a replacement.

Whitbread, which runs Costa Coffee, Premier Inn hotels and pubs such as Brewers Fayre, said on Tuesday pretax profit for the year to Feb. 26 was 488.1 million pounds ($744 million), up 18.5 percent on a year ago and ahead of an average forecast of 478.7 million.