Whitbread Restaurants seeks marketing chief

Whitbread Restaurants is seeking a marketing chief following the appointment of Mike Tye as managing director of the group’s coffee chain, Costa.

Marketing and strategic planning director Tye was responsible for the marketing of Whitbread’s portfolio of restaurants, which includes Café Rouge, Bella Pasta, TGI Friday and Beefeater.

Before heading the restaurants department, Tye held a number of senior marketing positions within Whitbread, including marketing director of Whitbread Inns and marketing and commercial director of Beefeater.

Tye replaces Mike Dowell, who is leaving Costa at the end of May without a job to go to.

Whitbread plans to double the number of Costa stores to 500 by 2005 and extend its partnerships with companies such as Abbey National, Waterstone’s and RoadChef, which has Costa outlets in some of its branches.

In November Whitbread announced it was selling 140 sites and rebranding more than half of its 258 Beefeater outlets either as upmarket “Out and Out” or neighbourhood “Banter” restaurants, the idea being to boost profits.

In March the company sold its 3,000-strong pubs and bars division to Morgan Grenfell Private Equity for &£1.63bn. The sale was part of a restructure to enable the company to focus on its restaurant and leisure division.

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