Compass Group is to phase out its Eurest Support Services (ESS) brand, which achieved notoriety in 2005 after being implicated in a United Nations (UN) contract scandal, Caterer can reveal.
The catering giant will, over the next 12 months, combine ESS with its business and industry division, Eurest, creating Eurest Services. The new entity will provide catering and support services, including facilities management, to 1,800 clients and employ 35,000 people in the UK.
Graham Sims, who joined Compass in 2006 as UK managing director of business and industry, from BP, becomes group managing director for Eurest Services. "Our clients are looking to rationalise their supply chain and bring it under the management of one company," he told Caterer.
"This move creates a one-stop-shop offer that will allow us to take on a lot more."
Compass has brought in "significant experience" from outside the catering sector to bolster its support services as well as investing £10m in back-office technology, he added.
Sims said the move to phase out ESS had not been influenced by the bad press the brand received over the UN contract scandal, suggesting "it is all in the past". The scandal led to the sacking of Compass UK and Ireland chief executive Peter Harris and a £40m out-of-court settlement with two European catering rivals.
Compass's ESS Defence and ESS Offshore brands will, however, endure.
A number of Compass's competitors have repositioned themselves as full-service providers, with Elior UK launching a facilities management division and Sodexo rebranding earlier this year.
- Look out for our interview with Compass Group UK and Ireland chief executive Ian El-Mokadem in Caterer & Hotelkeeper next month.
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