David Mulcahy, food service and craft development manager at Compass, will join rival caterer Sodexho in May.
Mulcahy, 39, is one of the three most senior chefs at Compass and leaves the group after 14 years. He will take over the top chef job at Sodexho as craft and food development director.
"I am excited by the prospect of doing a development programme to see whether I can raise the bar. I needed a new challenge that demonstrates my skills at a higher level," he said.
A Compass spokeswoman said: "We are very sorry to see him go. He has given a lot to the business."
Sodexho said the move was positive for both the company and Mulcahy.
By Tom Bill
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