The boss of pub company Punch Taverns swapped pints for pasties today after he was named as the new chief executive of bakery chain Greggs.

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Former M&S food halls boss Roger Whiteside will take over from Ken McMeikan, who announced his intention to stand down in December last year.

Mr Whiteside, who is 54, is already on the board of Greggs, having served as a non-executive director since March 2008.

His current job as chief executive of Punch involves a portfolio of around 4,500 leasehold pubs. His career began at M&S where he spent 20 years before guiding grocery delivery chain Ocado as joint managing director in its early days between 2000 and 2004. He later led off-licence chain Threshers until 2007.

He said today: “Greggs is a great business with an iconic brand that has strengthened considerably over the past few years. I believe we have a great future.”

Mr Whiteside will take up the role from February 4 and, following a handover period, Mr McMeikan will leave the company on March 8.

Newcastle-based Greggs has more than 1,650 outlets across the UK.

Its shares opened 1pc higher today following the announcement.

N+1 Singer analyst Sahill Shan said: "Roger Whiteside's PLC and extensive consumer facing experience will serve Greggs well. We await to see what strategic changes if any he puts through in the months ahead."

Mr McMeikan, who led a successful campaign against the Government's "pasty tax" last year, is leaving to take the top job at catering group Brakes.

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