Diageo's Walsh named Compass chairman

Thu Jun 20, 2013 2:57am EDT

LONDON, June 20 (Reuters) - Compass Group, the world's biggest caterer, named outgoing Diageo chief executive Paul Walsh as its new Chairman on Thursday, to help drive the firm's overseas expansion.

Walsh, who will be replaced at Diageo by Ivan Menezes on July 1 after some 13 years with the drinks group, will join Compass as a non-executive director next January and will become chairman on Feb. 6.

Walsh will replace Roy Gardner, who is retiring.

Compass operates in some 50 countries and serves 4 billion meals a year at locations ranging from schools and hospitals to offshore rigs and the Wimbledon tennis tournament.

The group is targeting growth in its core North American business and in emerging markets, and said Walsh's experience in international expansion would benefit the firm in its aims.

In May Compass posted an 8 percent rise in first half underlying pretax profit to 611 million pounds and said it was upbeat on its prospects for the full-year.

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