Whitbread, owner of Costa Coffee and Premier Inn, has appointed Adam Crozier - a former chief executive of broadcaster ITV and Royal Mail - as its chairman.
He will replace Richard Baker, who will retire at the end of February.
Crozier joined Whitbread's board last April and became senior independent director in September.
He was credited with restoring ITV's fortunes by reducing its reliance on advertising and expanding its production business.
He also spent seven years at Royal Mail where he set about restructuring the postal business in the face of opposition from unions. Prior to that he led the English Football Association (FA).
Whitbread, which has been the subject of break-up speculation in the past, warned in April of a tougher consumer environment, as rising inflation and muted wage growth weighed on consumer spending.
Last month, US-based hedge fund Sachem Head Capital Management declared a 3.4% stake in the hotel and coffee chain operator.
Sachem Head has previously taken activist positions at companies, though it is unclear whether it will push for changes at FTSE 100 listed Whitbread.