Alison Brittain, retail division director of Lloyds Bank since 2011, was today named as the new chief executive of Premier Inn and Costa parent Whitbread.

She is to join the company early next year on a base salary of £775,000, succeeding Andy Harrison who is to retire at the end of February 2016.

Brittain (50), who previously held senior roles at Santander and Barclays, is to acquire £500,000-worth of Whitbread shares on joining the company. She is also a non executive director of Marks and Spencer.

Whitbread chairman, Richard Baker, said: “We ran an extensive search and selection process and Alison was the standout candidate from a very strong field.

“Alison has vast experience in successfully managing multi-site operations with leading brands.

“She has a natural ability to inspire and motivate large customer-facing teams to deliver great service and her strong personal belief in the importance of putting the customer at the heart of the business makes her a perfect fit with our culture and values.

“Alison also has proven experience in delivering digital online and mobile technology, business to business marketing, and managing significant property portfolios.”

Brittain said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been chosen to lead Whitbread. I am impressed by its success and its strong, well loved brands.

“Its belief in focussing on customers and team members is something that is very close to my heart and I am committed to supporting and developing this even further in the future.

“Whitbread has a clear strategy and I am looking forward to leading the company as it grows and delivers for its customers, its people and its shareholders.”