May 25, 2012 / 7:51 AM / 7 years ago

InterContinental names Unilever veteran Cescau as chairman

LONDON (Reuters) - Unilever (ULVR.L) veteran Patrick Cescau is to become the new chairman of the world’s biggest hotelier InterContinental Hotels Group Plc (IHG.L) at the beginning of next year following the retirement of the 67-year old David Webster.

French born Cescau, aged 63, spent 35 years working for the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant culminating in his role as chief executive from 2005 to 2008 before retiring from the group and being succeeded by the present incumbent Paul Polman.

The hotelier which runs brands like Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza as well at InterContinental said on Friday that Cescau was picked due to his long experience with a global company such as Unilever (ULVR.L) UNc.AS with its multitude of big brands.

Cescau will take over as chairman on January 1, 2013, of the group which runs over 4,500 hotels with more than 660,000 rooms worldwide and with over 1,000 new hotels in its development pipeline. He is also a non executive director at Tesco (TSCO.L) International Airlines Group (ICAG.L) and Pearson (PSON.L).

Webster became the hotelier’s chairman at the start of 2004 the year after the demerger of the Six Continents group into InterContinental and UK pubs group Mitchells and Butlers.

He was a co-founder with the late James Gulliver and Alistair Grant of UK supermarket group Safeway and retired as chairman in 2004 shortly after its takeover by rival Wm Morrison (MRW.L).

InterContinental holds its annual general meeting later on Friday.

Reporting by David Jones; Editing by Mike Nesbit

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