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Whitbread ditches long-term auditor for Deloitte

EY HAS LOST its 60-year stranglehold on the audit of hotel and restaurant chain owner Whitbread, with Deloitte taking its place.

Following the completion of the audit of Whitbread’s accounts to 26 February 2015, Deloitte will step in as auditor. EY was paid £600k for its audit and non-audit work in Whitbread’s last financial year.

The Costa brand owner said it had “taken account of the latest governance best practice” in putting the audit out to tender. EY had last won the audit when a tender took place in the financial year 2010/11. Regulation recommends audit tenders taking place at least every ten years, and Whitbread flagged up in its April 2014 annual report that it would put the tender out within the next six years.

Clearly not waiting the full six years, a tender process in recent months has seen the end of EY’s position as its auditor.

Simon Melliss, chairman of Whitbread’s audit committee, said: “We thank Ernst & Young LLP for their significant contribution over many years as Whitbread’s auditor and we look forward to working with Deloitte LLP in the future.”

Churn in auditor appointments has increased, as audit committees digest new tender rules intending to promote quality and competition. EY won the Sainsbury’s audit in January, while the British American Tobacco audit is up for grabs.

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