Overall ranking: 47 (NEW ENTRY)
Contract catering ranking: 7 (NEW ENTRY)
Noel Mahony is chief executive of business and industry caterer BaxterStorey, which is the engine room in terms of revenue for the wider interests of Westbury Street Holdings (owner of Benugo and Holroyd Howe Independent). In the year to 31 December 2010, and excluding its operations in Scotland and Ireland, the business and industry caterer boosted revenue 15% to £240m (representing 66% of total group turnover). Clients include Barclays, reinsurer Swiss Re, auditor Ernst & Young, fashion house Hermes and law firm Addleshaw Goddard.
Noel Mahony - Career guide
Mahony's career in catering started in 1985 when he trained as a chef within the Trusthouse Forte Group. Fate brought him to the contract catering world and, joining Compass (via Granada Food Services), on to a series of senior management roles, where he ultimately led operations in Ireland then London and the South East. In 2002 he was named managing director of Compass owned Baxter & Platts and in 2004 he left to join independent caterer Wilson Storey Halliday.
In 2004 BaxterSmith and Wilson Storey Halliday (WSH) revealed plans to merge and create a new significant independent player in the contract catering market. It saw Mahony named as joint managing director along with Mike Smith. The combined business has annual turnover of £87m.
Mahony won the Food Service Caterer Award at the 2009 Cateys, following in the footsteps of Storey and several other team members at WSH.
Credits ahead of his executive position at the caterer include championing BaxterStorey's respected Chef Academy, establishing BaxterStorey Ireland in 2006, and helping Benugo (acquired by WSH Group in late 2007) double sales from £13m to £26m.
Mahony was named as chief executive of BaxterStorey in April this year (a role that now also includes front of house specialist Portico) after a management reshuffle in the wake of William Baxter, co-founder and group deputy chief executive, ending his day-to-day involvement in favour of an ambassadorial role at the company.
He has recently managed the mobilisation of BaxterStorey's launch into Belgium, Netherlands, Norway and France.
Noel Mahony - What we think
Although Mahony's class is evident in being a Catey recipient, make no mistake, the direction of the WSH Group and by extension BaxterStorey remains with co-founder and WSH chairman Alastair Storey. However, for all WSH's aspirations to grow in education and develop its various business interests, the BaxterStorey part remains the hub of the entire operation and Mahony, who has played a significant role in its success (his credits include winning deals with Barclays, Unilever and Virgin Atlantic Airways), inherits a business and industry caterer in rude health despite the anaemic UK recovery. His task in the coming years, which will dictate if he climbs higher in the top 100, will be to put his stamp on the business while retaining true to founders Storey and Baxter's original vision of being not necessarily the biggest but most certainly the best.