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Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Jason Leek, Compass Group

01 July 2011
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Jason Leek, Compass Group

Overall ranking: 52 (ranked 53 in 2010)

Contract catering ranking: 8 (ranked 4 in 2010)

Jason Leek - Snapshot

Jason Leek is sector managing director for business and industry at Compass and has headed up Restaurant Associates (RA) since 2006. RA, originally imported from the USA and incorporating brands such as Roux Fine Dining, counts some of the most prestigious banks and law firms in the land as customers, as well as holding Michelin stars for its restaurant tie-ups with Gary Rhodes.

With Eurest Services now under Leek's control, he presides over Compass's engine room too, within a caterer that operates across a diverse range of sectors also including education, healthcare, vending, sports and leisure, along with military, remote and offshore sites.

Jason Leek - Career guide

Leek joined Compass in 2001 as corporate development director, before being promoted to head of corporate development in early 2004. In this role he was responsible for the group's mergers and acquisitions, including leading the sale of the SSP and Moto businesses to EQT and Macquarie. Leek joined RA as managing director in December 2006.

He developed a business strategy centered on four key pillars - innovation, service, lifestyle and simplicity. From October 2009 he took on the additional role of managing director for Eurest Services.

Jason Leek - What we think

It seems somewhat churlish now, but at the time of his appointment to head up Restaurant Associates in 2006 a few eyebrows were raised that a man from a legal background had been put in charge of Compass's fine-dining operation.

But with a Michelin star gained at Gary Rhodes's restaurant at the Cumberland hotel in 2008 and retained in 2011's red book alongside the Michelin-starred Rhodes Twenty Four, a whole host of major contract wins (Lloyds, Bloomberg, Aviva, Bank of England, investment firm Aon) and having forged headline grabbing partnerships with the likes of Jason Atherton (not forgetting an enduring relationship with Albert Roux and Michel Roux Junior), Leek has most certainly answered his critics.

Restaurant Associates provides the glamour and Eurest Services the lion's share of the money. RA and Eurest have, like the rest of the sector, been hit by the malaise affecting the UK. But come the recovery, the business under Leek will be hard to contain and it's presently inconceivable it won't maintain its market-leading sales position.

Jason Leek's ranking in the 2010 Caterersearch.com 100 >>

Team-ups between Michelin-starred chefs and contract caterers >>

Jason Leek to head up merged Eurest Services and Restaurant Associates at Compass >>

Compass Group website >>

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