Greggs’ pasty tax rebel flakes away to Brakes

Michael Bow
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PASTY shop Greggs yesterday began the search for a new chief executive after current boss Ken McMeikan, who led a rebellion against government proposals for a pasty tax, said he was quitting the business.

McMeikan, who is credited with turning the high street Steak Bake maker from a small scale bakery into a thriving national icon, is to become chief executive of Brakes Group, a catering company owned by private equity firm Bain Capital – following a similar move by other FTSE chief executives into the world of private equity.

McMeikan, who was made leader in 2008, will stay on until a successor is appointed. It is understood it is likely he will still be in charge when Greggs delivers its next set of results in mid-January.

The board is currently exploring internal and external candidates for the role.

Yesterday he said it was a “great honour” to have led Greggs over the past four years.

Shares in the Greggs collapsed around 2.5 per cent in trading yesterday, as investors grew bearish on the future direction of the business without McMeikan at the helm.

McMeikan was a vociferous critic of chancellor George Osborne’s plans to levy a tax on reheated pastry snacks, a policy which was defeated.

McMeikan was also responsible for pioneering Greggs’ wholesale business in a deal with Tesco, where he was once an executive.