GREGGS is taking on a retail expert and current chief executive of pubs group Punch Taverns as its new boss to replace the popular and high-profile Ken McMeikan after nearly five years in the job.
Roger Whiteside will take over the reins as chief executive of the Newcastle bakery chain on February 4. After a handover period, McMeikan will leave the business on March 8 for his new job as chief executive of catering company Brakes.
Whiteside, who has been a Greggs non-executive director since 2008, began his career at Marks & Spencer where he spent 20 years and became head of its food business.
He was part of the team which founded Ocado, the home delivery groceries wing of Waitrose, where he served as managing director from 2000-04.
And he led the turnaround of off- licence chain Thresher as its chief executive from 2004 -07 before joining Punch Taverns.
Greggs chairman Derek Netherton said: “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Roger as chief executive.
“Not only has he got considerable management experience in retailing and food but also, as a non-executive director of Greggs during a period of significant change, he has been involved in developing the strategy.
“He is very well respected within the company and his appointment will enable a smooth transition in what is still a challenging consumer environment.”
Analysts N+Singer said that Greggs had moved swiftly following McMeikan’s announcement last month.