Bupa's new boss takes the pledge

The new boss of Bupa is giving up the booze. Stuart Fletcher is joining the private healthcare group in March after a 26-year career at Diageo, the purveyor of drinks brands including Smirnoff vodka and Gordon's gin.

Mr Fletcher, 54, replaces Ray King, who announced his retirement earlier this year. Bupa has 10.7 million customers, with Britain, Australia and Spain its main markets. Its turnover rose 6 per cent to £3.9bn in the first half.

The chairman Lord Leitch said: "Stuart has an exceptional international track record. He is the right person to lead Bupa through the next phase of our development." Mr Fletcher has been president of Diageo International since 2004, having joined the Guinness brewer in 1986. Before that, he worked at Procter & Gamble. He said: "I am looking forward to building on the legacy of Ray King and his predecessors."