Compass is poised to embark on a massive restructuring programme that will see a review of all its brands, the departure of three top executives and 200 management redundancies.
In an exclusive interview with Caterer, UK and Ireland chief executive Ian El-Mokadem (above) revealed details of the initiative, which was agreed at a meeting of the top 60 Compass executives last Thursday.
El-Mokadem said the sheer number of brands owned by Compass was confusing for both clients and staff.
"We are conducting a review of the whole brand estate, to make our offer clearer in the marketplace," he said. "My instinct tells me we've got too many names."
El-Mokadem said the sector brands, including Business and Industry, Education, Defence and Healthcare, would retain their identity but clarity was required within the divisions.
"We want to talk to clients in particular, as they have grown up with the names. Is it the name they identify with or the manager or the product?" he said. "In some sectors, there is more of a focus on competitive tendering and I'm not sure how much the brand name really matters."
Tony Horton, managing director of food service consultancy Tricon Consulting, welcomed the move. "It's about time," he said. "There has been a lot of confusion in the market and hopefully this will sort it out."
Compass is dedicating new resources to the rebranding exercise by appointing its first full-time marketing director, following the retirement of sales and marketing director Mike Oldfield.
Rowena Edwards, managing director of support services arm ESS, is taking on the sales remit, while recruitment firm Spencer Stewart has been instructed to find a new marketing chief.
Trevor Briggs, executive director of specialist markets and Philip Nash, managing director of the Restaurant Associates division, are also retiring. Briggs will be replaced by Ian Sarson, managing director of Medirest, while Nash has agreed to help recruit his replacement before he leaves next year.
The restructure, due to be completed in the next six months, will also see Compass creating a dedicated fine-dining division, with a new managing director who will report to El-Mokadem.
The 200 managers who have been made redundant, owing to "duplication", will leave within the next two months.
By Daniel Thomas