Whitbread plc, owner of Costa Coffee, has announced that Anthony Habgood will step down as chairman later this year.

The process to find his successor will be led by Sir Ian Cheshire, senior independent director, and a further announcement will be made in due course. 

In November last year, British Baker reported that Whitbread was believed to be searching for a replacement for Habgood. See the original story here.

Habgood, who has held the position at Whitbread since mid-2005, said: “It has been a pleasure to be chairman over a period of rapid growth as we have transformed Whitbread into a focused company and developed two market-leading brands, Premier Inn and Costa. 

“With the company having a strong board and a clear strategy for growth, I believe this year is an appropriate time to hand over to a successor.”

In addition, the company has outlined growth milestones for 2016 and 2018, revealing plans to double the size of its Costa Coffee franchise with global system sales of £2bn over the next four years.