100: Andrew Main

01 July 2010 100: Andrew Main

Overall ranking: 79

Food service ranking: 8

Andrew Main - Snapshot

As chief executive of Aramark, Andrew Main presides over a company with 12,500 employees in the UK, annual turnover of about £400m and operating at more than 1,000 sites, making it one of the "big five" that dominate the sector. It runs many contracts in the City, education and healthcare and is active in the Armed Forces 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. In the USA the company is particularly noted for its healthcare and education interests.

On 26 January 2007 Aramark Corporation announced the completion of the acquisition of the company by an investor group led by chief executive Joseph Neubauer with the backing of investment funds managed by GS Capital Partners, CCMP Capital Advisors, JP Morgan Partners, Thomas H Lee Partners and Warburg Pincus.

In the year ended 2 October 2009 the company saw sales of $8.4b (£5.7m) in North America, (68% of total group sales), with operating profit of $349.3m (£236m). The food and support services - international segment, which includes the UK, generated $2.3b (£1.6b) in sales in the same period (19% of total group sales). Operating profit was $83.4m (£56.3m), down 14% compared with the previous year. The group also has a separate clothing division that supplies workwear, especially in the USA. Aramark Corporation has provided catering services at 14 Olympic Games.

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 as chief executive of Aramark in the UK in February 2005.

Andrew Main - What we think

The man brought in to take Aramark UK in a different direction after the high-profile leadership of incumbent Bill Toner had already made a name for himself in the USA.

Although Aramark had been successful under Toner, winning a plethora of high-profile contracts and boosting its image considerably, a change of emphasis from the US leadership of the company called for someone of Main's abilities to shift the focus of Aramark UK away from top-line growth to maximising profits - much as has happened at its major rivals such as Compass in recent years.

Main has introduced a London innovation centre to better showcase the caterer's concession offers and hasn't shirked from tough decisions, announcing management job cuts last autumn. Main has maintained a low media profile compared with his predecessor, and while the loss of its lucrative prison shop contract in November 2008 (worth an estimated £40m a year) would have been significant for any business, the company's healthcare division won a £50m five-year contract to provide food and cleaning services at Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust in Beckenham, Kent, in late 2009, and there's been success within the education and defence sectors - not to mention high-profile wins such as the BBC and HBOS - which suggest Main's solid management has kept Aramark UK on course.

Andrew Main - Further information

Aramark wins £50m food and cleaning contract in Beckenham >>

Managerial jobs to go as Aramark gets ‘leaner' >>

Aramark >>">" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">
Read more about the 100, the most influential people, here >>

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