Overall ranking: 98
Food service ranking: 12
Mike Audis - Snapshot
Mike Audis was promoted from the role of chief executive officer of Avenance UK to become chief executive officer of Elior UK in March 2005 following the restructuring of a company that had rapidly grown into the UK’s fourth-largest contract caterer.
It targets the business and industry, education, healthcare, stadia and leisure centre, retail, defence, travel, heritage and defence markets.
Elior serves more than 250,000 meals a day across 1,000-plus venues, including multi-site contracts. Clients include Waterstone’s, Walsall Manor hospital, EDF, Kingston University and Westland Helicopters. It is owned by Groupe Elior of France, which operates in North and South America, Europe and Africa and is the world’s fourth-largest contract caterer, with annual turnover of €3.6b (£3b).
Mike Audis - Career guide
After working as a trainee hotel manager for two years, Audis spent the next 25 years with contract caterer Gardner Merchant (now Sodexo).
He worked successively with Ford at its Dagenham plant, its European headquarters in Brentwood, Essex, and its southern operation before taking on the job of integrating vending and catering across 51 Ford sites.
He was promoted to deputy regional director for the North-east, and then for the South, before rising to sales and marketing director. After Sodexho Alliance of France (Sodexo) bought Gardner Merchant in 1995, Audis served as managing director for Gardner Merchant UK South for four years.
Audis then ran his own consultancy until 2002, when he became managing director of Avenance’s two southern regions. A year later he was promoted to director of new business development and, in June 2004, to chief executive of Avenance.
Mike Audis - What we think
Mike Audis has had the not inconsiderable task of heading project Elior UK since 2005. It’s certainly tested his management mettle, with a series of high-profile departures from the management team and contract losses - and wins - in the ever-fickle market.
A move into facilities management has brought mixed results, but the company has had success working with the Ministry of Defence, and its concession business is an often overlooked strength of the business. Audis remains at the helm, and the project is very much on course. Indeed, looking at the figures, Elior UK has been a success. Audis has taken a fragmented business and beaten a target to double the size of the operation in five years – a landmark that was actually surpassed in 2008, way ahead of schedule. Turnover is north of £280m and profitability has improved eight-fold.
Elior UK now employs some 10,000 full-time workers, making it one of the largest caterers in the sector, and that is down to Audis, whose position has been strengthened. Its biggest challenge, aside from the recession, is the emergence of a rival, BaxterStorey, as a force in the market with the resources and increasing profile to prove a viable alternative to Elior UK. However, the French-owned caterer, having gone through rapid restructuring in recent years, is now well placed and lean, and Audis will no doubt take this new challenge in his stride.
Mike Audis - Further information