Tim Hortons Inc. (TSX:THI) has reported a slight contraction in net income in what was expected to be a "soft" first quarter as the iconic coffee and doughnut chain announced the appointment of a new president and CEO.

Marc Caira, a longtime senior executive at Nestle, will take over from Paul House effective July 2. House will become non-executive chairman, while Caira will stand for election as a director at the annual meeting of shareholders.

Caira, 59, was most recently global CEO of Nestle Professional and was also a member of the executive board of Nestle SA, the world's largest food and beverage company.

Ontario-based Tim Hortons, with more than 4,200 locations across Canada and in the United States, said net income attributable to stockholders was $86.2 million or 56 cents per share in the three months ended March 31.

That was down 2.9 per cent from $88.8 million, also 56 cents per share, in the same 2012 period when the company had more shares.

Adjusted earnings were $137.4 million, up 4.4 per cent from 131.6 million in the 2012 quarter.

Revenue totalled $731.5 million, up 1.4 per cent from $721.3 million.

"While it was a soft quarter as expected, we are taking important steps to continue to expand and enhance our system, improve the guest experience and build value for our shareholders," House said in remarks in which he also touted the appointment of his successor.

New CEO comes from Nestle Canada

He described Caira, who previously served as president and CEO of Parmalat North America and as president, food services and Nescafe beverages for Nestle Canada, as someone with "a keen understanding of the global food services industry and specifically the hot beverage and food sectors that is second to none."

"We look forward to his leadership as we continue to hone our strategies to support future growth and fulfil our ongoing commitment to generating strong shareholder returns."

Tim Hortons is one of the largest publicly-traded restaurant chains in North America based on market capitalization, and the largest in Canada. As of March 31st, Tim Hortons had 4,288 systemwide fast-food restaurants, including 3,453 in Canada, 808 in the United States and 27 in the Gulf Co-operation Council.