Greggs will this week reveal that it is baking boardroom succession plans when it discloses that its veteran chairman will remain in place to oversee the hunt for a new chief executive.

Sky News has learnt that the company will announce alongside annual results on Tuesday that Ian Durant has been asked by its board to stay beyond the nine-year period beyond which he would cease to be regarded as independent under UK corporate governance guidelines.

Sources said that Mr Durant, who became Greggs’ chairman in 2013, was likely to stay for “at least a couple more years” as the company battles the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The sandwich chain’s chairman will also identify a successor to Roger Whiteside, who has presided over its wildly successful growth during most of the last eight years.

A formal search for Greggs’ next chief executive has yet to get underway, and Mr Whiteside is also said to be determined to stay until its post-coronavirus recovery is well-entrenched.

While changes to the company’s top team remain some time from being announced, its announcement on Tuesday will signal the impending conclusion of one of the most successful double-acts in recent British boardroom history.

Renowned for its sausage rolls, Greggs has thrived on high streets even as many retail chains have faced collapse.

It warned in January that the pandemic would send it spiralling to its first annual loss since listing on the stock market in 1984, but has vowed to continue opening new stores as the UK economy returns to some semblance of normality.

The company, which employs more than 20,000 people, has a market value of just over £2.2bn.

A Greggs spokesman declined to comment on Monday.

(c) Sky News 2021: Greggs bakes succession plan for top pair as pandemic prompts maiden annual loss

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