Greggs chief executive Roger Whiteside has said he is “delighted and honoured” after receiving an OBE in recognition of his services to women and equality.

Whiteside was awarded the Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in the 2019 New Year’s Honours List. The order rewards contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service outside the civil service.

In 2016, Whiteside joined the Women’s Business Council, which was set up in 2012 by Theresa May to help tackle barriers to women’s progression. Three women hold non-exec posts on Greggs’ eight-strong main board:

  • Allison Kirkby: President and CEO of European telecoms company Tele 2, Kirkby has held roles at businesses including Procter and Gamble, Virgin Media and Shine.
  • Helena Ganczakowski: Worked for Unilever for 23 years and held senior positions in brand management and marketing. Has a PhD in Engineering from the University of Cambridge.
  • Sandra Turner: Was commercial director for Tesco Ireland, and has worked in sales and marketing roles for Unilever and Wilkinson Sword.

Greggs said Whiteside believed gender equality should be a priority for all businesses to ensure they maximised and nurtured in-house talent.

The company operates a Female Career Development Programme to encourage women to pursue a progressive career.

“I am proud to play my part, alongside a great team of people both at Greggs and through the Women’s Business Council, to promote equality of opportunity and progression for women in the workplace,” said Whiteside. “It is not just the right thing to do, but makes good business sense and contributes to our economic growth and development.

“Our board continues to believe it is in the best interests of the company to bring women through to the very top of the organisation. We are proud of the fact that almost half of our management population are female, with growing representation at our highest executive levels.”

Greggs this week raised its profit expectations from £86m to £88m.