Whitbread, which trades as Premier Inn and coffee chain Costa, has said Anthony Habgood will step down from its board later this year.
He had been chairman since the middle of 2005.
The process to find his successor will be led by senior independent director Sir Ian Cheshire.
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Mr Habgood, also chairman at Reed Elsevier, said: "With the company having a strong board and a clear strategy for growth, I believe that this year is an appropriate time to hand over to a successor."