Mike Johnson

21 September 2006
Mike Johnson

Overall ranking: 48 (new entrant)

Contract catererranking: 11

Mike is the managing director of Sodexho's business and industry division and holds the same position for its events and leisure catering arm, Sodexho Prestige. He is also chief executive officer for Rugby Travel & Hospitality 2007.

Sodexho is the second largest player in the £3.865b UK contract catering market and provides food and management services to business and industry, education, healthcare, remote sites, old people's homes, defence, and prisons.

The company, which employs around 48,000 staff across 2,300 clients, is owned by the Sodexho Alliance of France, an €11.7b-turnover business with more than 480,000 staff across 23,900 sites in 76 countries.

The UK and Ireland is Sodexho's third largest market after Continental Europe and North America and accounts for around 11% of its business. In the year to August 2005, it reported sales of €1.3b and earnings before interest, tax and amortisation of €27m, representing falls of 3.6% and 4.8% respectively.

Mike Johnson - Career guide
Before joining Sodexho, Johnson worked his way through many of Whitbread's key brands. His roles included managing director of Pizza Hut France and chief executive of Keg Restaurants in Australia, and both Costa Coffee and TGI Friday's in the UK.

He then served as chief executive of pub operator Eldridge Pope.

He became managing director of Sodexho Prestige and retained this title when he took on the business and industry division in August 2005.

Mike Johnson - What we think
Mike Johnson presides over Sodexho's largest division . Sodexho Business & Industry accounts for 12,000 of the group's 48,000 staff and contributes more than 25% of its business. Its client list includes the Foreign & Commonwealth Office; the Guardian; Smith & Nephew; Reckitt Benckiser, HSBC regional and GSK.

Johnson is also responsible for the events and conferencing arm, Sodexho Prestige, which employs more than 400 permanent staff and up to 13,000 part-time or casual employees during a year.

Recent successes have included winning the contract for Everton FC and for Great Leighs (the first new racecourse to be built in 80 years) and transferring the Royal Ascot business to York in 2005 during re-development and returning it to Ascot in time for the 2006 season. The division also provides catering services to events such as the Chelsea Flower Show, the Open Golf and Burghley Horse Trials.

The UK's B&I division was main contributor to a 10% slump in parent group operating profits in 2002, accounting for 90% of the decline in UK sales.

The key problem lay with under-performing contracts and poor client retention.

The company addressed the problem on two fronts. Firstly, it aced unprofitable contracts in the division and by 2003 had shed the 20 least productive contracts, which were worth £13m in turnover.

The second solution was to try and make existing and future contracts more profitable by offering a greater range of services to each client. By 2003, multi-service sites accounted for 20% of current and 50% of new contracts.

Johnson has continued this drive and is pioneering Sodexho's move towards a fully-integrated facilities management provider.

He is able to draw upon the group's experience of handling more than 14,000 industrial sites across the globe to offer a full portfolio of FM services under a single operational and management framework.

Johnson's third role within to Sodexho is to head up the Rugby Travel & Hospitality 2007 operation.

Ths is a multi-million pound joint venture between Sodexho Prestige and the Mike Burton Group, which holds the rights to market corporate hospitality and sports travel for the Rugby World Cup 2007 in France.

Mike Johnson - Further information

Sodexho profile on CatererSearch

Sodexho official websiteRead more about the CatererSearch 100, the list of the most influential people here

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