Richard Baker

Chairman, Whitbread

Biography

Richard Baker is Chairman of Whitbread, Chairman of DFS Furniture, Chairman of the British Retail Consortium, Board Advisor Aimia (owners of the Nectar Card) and an Independent Board Member of the Lawn Tennis Association. He is also a Senior Operating Partner at Advent International. Prior to these appointments, Richard was Chief Executive of Alliance Boots until stepping down in 2007 following its £11bn sale to KKR.

He joined the Boots Group as Chief Executive in 2003 at the age of 40. During his time at the company, he turned around the performance of Boots the Chemists by refocusing on the traditional strengths of health and beauty, by making the company more price-competitive and dramatically improving the efficiency of operations. However, his defining act was to orchestrate the successful merger of the Boots Group and Alliance Unichem, both FTSE£100 companies. The merger created a powerhouse in European healthcare with a turnover of £15bn, profits of £700m and over 100,000 employees in 14 countries. During his four years’ tenure, the share price grew from £5.50 to £11.39, the highest-ever price in the Boots companies’ 100 year history. This created over £5bn in incremental shareholder value.

Prior to joining the Chemist in 2003, Richard was Chief Operating Officer of Asda, the supermarket group. Before that he was at Mars, the confectionery giant, where he worked alongside Allan Leighton and Justin King.

Richard was educated at Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School before going to Cambridge University and Harvard Business School, gaining an MA (Hons) in Engineering Science and a Diploma in Strategic Retail Management. While studying at Cambridge, Richard did an apprenticeship at Land Rover. Richard is 54, married with two children and lives in Stamford, Lincolnshire. In his spare time he is a keen sportsman, notably playing hockey, tennis and golf. He also enjoys sailing, and playing the drums.

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