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Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Andrew Main, Aramark

01 July 2011
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Andrew Main, Aramark

Overall ranking: 83 (ranked 79 in 2010)

Contract catering ranking: 11 (ranked 8 in 2010)

Andrew Main - Snapshot

As chief executive of Aramark, Andrew Main presides over a company with 12,500 employees in the UK, operating at over 1,000 sites, with annual turnover of around £400m - making it one of the "big five" that dominate the sector. It runs many contracts in education, healthcare and the City and is active in the defence and offshore sectors. It also provides support services (reception, ground maintenance).

It is part of the Aramark Corporation, which has its headquarters in Philadelphia and has 255,000 employees serving clients in 22 countries and annual turnover of $12b (£7.4b). In the USA, Aramark is particularly noted for its healthcare and education interests but provides catering services to virtually all business sectors. The group also has a separate clothing division that supplies workwear, especially in the USA.

In Fortune magazine's 2011 list of the World's Most Admired Companies, Aramark Corporation was ranked number one in its industry sector.

Andrew Main - Career guide

Andrew Main was born in Scotland and has held management positions with Grand Metropolitan (which became Compass), Scottish & Newcastle Breweries and Universal Ogden Services, which was acquired by Sodexo in 1997.

He joined Aramark UK in 1994 as divisional director for Scotland and offshore operations, moving in 2000 to the role of managing director of specialist markets.

Two years later he relocated to the USA as executive vice-president of the business services division and was promoted to president in 2003.

He took over from Bill Toner (now chief executive at contract caterer Host) as chief executive of Aramark in the UK in February 2005.

Andrew Main - What we think

These are tough times for contract caterers in general, and Main faces not only the UK's economic malaise but a resurgent competitor in Compass and the seemingly inexorable rise of BaxterStorey owner WSH Group, which if it hasn't already looks set to sneak the number three position in the market away from long term holder Aramark soon.

Main is one of the longest serving bosses of the large contract caterers and rated as a shrewd operator that successfully steered Aramark UK in a different direction to that of his immediate predecessor Bill Toner.

But having built a reputation on getting the bottom-line right, the current tough market has removed some of Main's hard-won gloss, with the group's annual statement revealing significant "profit declines in the UK and Ireland due to the difficult economic environment and lost business", had been one of the main reasons for a 10% drop in operating profit to $75.3m (£46.6m) at it's International Operations.

Not one to sit back, Main is attempting to get the company's suppliers to absorb some of the pain with an attention grabbing demand that they reduce their prices by 12%.

While Aramark UK has achieved recognition at the prestigious RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety Awards for the 13th year running and switched to free-range eggs, losing the contract for News International to rival Avenance (Elior) must have rankled and suggests a chief executive with a busy year ahead as he looks to work his magic once again and address current decline.

2012 will prove critical after Aramark Corporation, which has provided catering services at 14 Olympic Games, was confirmed as an official caterer at next year's London Olympics (March 2010).

Andrew Main's ranking in the 2010 Caterersearch.com 100 >>

Aramark demands 12% price cut from suppliers >>

Aramark wins £6m contract at Rosyth dockyard >>

Aramark staff threaten strikes over inferior conditions >>

Aramark website >>

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