Compass boss Richard Cousins quits after 11 years at the top

Alys Key
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Richard Cousins is leaving after 11 years (Source: Compass)

The world's biggest catering group, Compass, announced this morning that its chief executive Richard Cousins will retire next year.

Cousins will step down from his current role in March 2018, and leave the group in September.

Chairman Paul Walsh said: "In the past 11 years Richard has transformed Compass into an industry leading organisation that delivers excellent food services to our clients, attracts and develops great people and generates significant returns for our shareholders."

Shares in the company fell 2.3 per cent this morning, as investors took stock of Cousins' departure.

Analysts at Credit Suisse said: "Whilst we wouldn’t wish to be accused of hyperbole, we consider Richard's tenure as CEO of Compass to be nothing short of exceptional."

Cousins caused a stir earlier this year after he quit another role as non-executive director on the board of Tesco, in protest against the supermarket's takeover of Booker.

Read more: World's biggest catering firm Compass chews over tricky quarter

Dominic Blakemore, current COO in Europe, has been lined up to replace him, and will take up the post of deputy chief executive from next month to "ensure a smooth transition" ahead of his succession in April. He has already served as CFO for four years before spending two years as COO Europe.

Cousins gave his successor a stamp of approval, saying: "I look forward to working closely with Dominic in the next six months to ensure a smooth handover and I am confident that he will lead the Group to even greater success in the future."

Blakemore said: "I am honoured and delighted to be appointed as Compass' next CEO. I am fortunate to be supported by a very strong senior management team and together we will continue to build on the success achieved under Richard's leadership."

Compass has benefitted from the weak pound lately.

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