Robinson returns to his catering roots

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The Independent Online

Sir Gerry Robinson, the man who led Granada's takeover of Forte Hotels in 1996, is back in the catering business. He was named yesterday as chairman of Moto Hospitality, the motorway service operator that is being sold to a consortium led by Australia's Macquarie Bank.

Moto operates 43 motorway service stations across the UK and is behind brands such as Harry Ramsden's, Upper Crust and Caffè Ritazza.

Sir Gerry became chief executive of Grand Metropolitan's Contract Services arm in 1984. He later led a management buyout to form Compass.

Compass is selling its Select Service Partner (SSP) division, which includes Moto, for £1.8bn.

Tim Moss, the chief executive of Moto, said: "Sir Gerry brings enormous experience of the UK motorway service area industry in addition to a wide range of other businesses. His experience will help make the transition to a stand-alone business."

Sir Gerry has been chairman of BSkyB, London Weekend Television, ITN and Savoy Hotels.

Macquarie is thought to have hired Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein to arrange the financing it needs to buy SSP, which made profits of £114m in the year to September.