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Pasty's VAT saviour leaves Greggs for Brakes

The man who saved the British pasty and sausage roll from the Chancellor of the Exchequer's attempt to slap VAT on hot snacks is quitting Greggs the bakers to join catering supply giant Brakes.

Ken McMeikan, pictured, who collected more than 300,000 signatures on his Save our Savouries campaign within weeks of this year's Budget and forced George Osborne into an embarrassing U-turn, could be on the way to making a small fortune as the new chief executive of Brakes if, as looks likely, the business floats on the stock market in the next couple of years.

Brakes has annual sales of more than £2.8bn and is a leading supplier to the restaurants, pubs and hotels across the UK, Ireland, France and Sweden. It was bought by the US private equity group Bain for £1.3bn in 2007.

An initial public offering could see it valued at some £2bn with serious share-option plans offered to senior management.

Mr McMeikan has led Greggs since 2008 and transformed the High Street baker by introducing centralised production and distribution and extending it into the South of England.

The 47-year-old former Royal Navy electronic warfare expert – who served during the Falklands War – has previously worked for Tesco and Sainsbury's.

He also campaigned against the Government's work-placement scheme and is a major backer of primary school Breakfast Clubs.

He will remain at Greggs until a successor is found.