>Outsider is favourite as Whitbread seeks new chief

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>Whitbread has appointed headhunters to help find a successor for Alan Parker, who is expected to announce in the summer that he is retiring as chief executive of the leisure group, The Times has learnt.

Mr Parker, 63, was expected to complete a five-year stint when he was promoted to the top job from head of hotels in 2004. However, his success in turning around Whitbread’s fortunes, allied to his enthusiasm for the job, have allowed him to stay past his scheduled departure date.

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