Sodexo (formerly Sodexho Alliance) is a French food services and facilities management company headquartered in the Paris suburb of Issy-les-Moulineaux. Sodexo is one of the world's largest multinational corporations, with 420,000 employees that represent 130 nationalities and are present on 34,000 sites in 80 countries.
|Société d'Exploitation Hotelière|
|Traded as||Euronext: SW|
CAC 40 Component
in Marseilles, France
|Pierre Bellon (Chairman), Denis Machuel (CEO)|
|Services||Foodservice, facility management, service vouchers|
|Revenue||€16.04 billion (2011)|
|€853 million (2011)|
|€945 million (2011)|
|Total assets||€111.40 billion (2011)|
|Total equity||€2.535 billion (2011)|
Number of employees
|Subsidiaries||Sodexo Justice Services|
For fiscal year 2010 (ending August 2009) revenues reached €15.3 billion, with a market capitalization of €6.5 billion. Revenues by region represent 38% in North America, 37% in Continental Europe, 8% in the UK and Ireland, and 17% elsewhere.
Sodexo serves many sectors, including private corporations, government agencies, schools from preschool through university (including seminaries and trade schools), hospitals and clinics, assisted-living facilities, military bases, and prisons. As of 2016 subsidiary Sodexo Justice Services operated support services in 122 prisons in eight countries, including 42 in the Netherlands, 34 in France, and others in Belgium, Italy, Spain, and Chile, as well as running 5 prisons directly in the UK.
The company was launched in 1966 by Pierre Bellon (Chairman) in Marseille, France, initially serving company restaurants, schools and hospitals under the name Société d'Exploitation Hotelière (English: Hotel Services Corporation). Today Sodexo is on the Fortune Global 500 list and the second largest employer among all French multi-national corporations.
Throughout the 1970s, the company expanded in France and internationally; first in Belgium, then Africa, and finally the Middle East. After an initial public offering on the Paris Bourse in 1983, the firm continued its expansion into North America, South America, Japan, South Africa and Russia.
Between 1995 and 2001, Société d'Exploitation Hotelière's holding company changed its name to Sodexho Alliance, and the company forged alliances with Gardner Merchant, Partena, Sogeres, Wood Dining Services and Universal Ogden Services. In 2000 Sodexho Alliance became the leader in remote site management after a merger with Universal Ogden Services.
In 1998, Sodexho merged with Marriott Management Services, at the time one of the largest food services companies in North America. Included in the merger was a name change to Sodexho Marriott Services. The merger helped the company become one of the largest food services providers in the United States.
In 2002, Sodexho was listed on the New York Stock Exchange, but the company withdrew its listing in 2007. As of 2017, the company is listed on Euronext Paris under symbol SW and trades stocks OTC under SDXOF and SDXAY.
In 2005, Michel Landel was appointed Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Pierre Bellon, who continues as Chairman of the Board of Directors.
In the summer of 2006, the company made headlines for concluding a deal with retired NBA Hall of Famer and entrepreneur, Magic Johnson and Magic Food Provisions, a subsidiary of Magic Johnson Enterprises. The initiative includes a marketing agreement and the formation of SodexhoMAGIC, LLC, a new joint venture that is 51 percent owned by Johnson.
Since January 2016, its United States operations have been headed by Lorna C. Donatone, Region Chair for North America and CEO of Schools worldwide.
In 2007, Sodexho launched its catering arm in United Kingdom schools, using the brand name "For you...".
In August 2009, Sodexo acquired the in-home care services company, Comfort Keepers. Comfort Keepers provides non-medical, in-home care for adults and seniors. It is an international franchise system with locally owned and operated franchise offices, and is headquartered in Dayton, Ohio. The company was launched in 1998. Comfort Keepers franchises are located throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, France, Ireland, Portugal, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. As of June 2016, Comfort Keepers had 500 franchisees running 750 offices in the United States and internationally. Comfort Keepers was named by INC. Magazine as one of the fastest-growing franchise systems in the United States in 2007. In 2016, Comfort Keepers was ranked number seven by Forbes as a "Top Franchise to Buy" in the lowest investment category.
The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity is the leading assessment of diversity management in the US economy and globally. In 2010, Sodexo ranked number one. According to the report, Sodexo "has led every other company in its ability to implement measure and assess strong internal diversity initiatives".
In 2010, Sodexo entered into two new partnerships: the first one with United Coffee, who will supply Sodexo with machines as well as fair-trade certified coffees; the other one with Numi, from which Sodexo has selected 100% organic teas.
In 2011, Sodexo entered an eight-year contract with the US government, by which the company committed itself to provide food services to 51 United States Marine Corps mess halls.
Financial figures (2009–2010)
Sodexo reported revenues of €15.3 billion in the 12 months ended February 2010 and an organic growth of 0.4%. It benefits from a Corporate Credit Rating of BBB+ (Standard & Poor).
Food services and facilities management
Sodexo offerings range from food service operations including staff restaurants, catering, executive dining, vending, and meal delivery, to integrated facilities management services that include both soft services (reception, concierge, cleaning, pantry, laundry, groundskeeping, waste management, vendor management, etc.) and hard services (HVAC system, electrical systems including substations up to 220kV, energy efficiency & sustainability services, plumbing/water treatment plant/sewage treatment plant operation, annual equipment operation & maintenance contracts, project management, etc.).
Service vouchers and cards
One of the top-two companies worldwide in this sector, Sodexo provides companies and public authorities with meal passes, restaurant vouchers, mobility passes, leisure passes, book cards, and training vouchers. In China and the US, it operates a stored-value card system in cooperation with multiple restaurants. Freedompay is used to power some of these deployments
The company changed its official name from Sodexho Alliance to simply Sodexo after a shareholder vote at the company's annual general meeting on 22 January 2008. The reason for removing the letter 'h' from Sodexho, cited in the group's 2007 annual report, is that "in certain languages an 'x' followed by an 'h' is difficult to pronounce". The company's corporate website also states that it draws emphasis away from the hotel services industry they were once associated with, as they now focus on many other directions. The Sod part of the name remains unchanged. The logo of the company was also changed, dropping the five stars to a single star. The bar of the letter 'x' is also now curved, like a smile, supposedly suggestive of the company's claimed desire to constantly seek and increase the satisfaction of their clients.
In 2009, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) launched a United States nationwide campaign against Sodexo with their stated objective of improving wage and job standards. In 2010, the SEIU recruited students at many U.S. colleges to support strikes and demonstrations in protest of Sodexo's alleged unfair labor practices including anti-union behavior and paying low wages. Although one series of strikes at the University of Pittsburgh led to the negotiation of higher wages and lower cost health insurance plans for the cafeteria workers, none of the Sodexo accounts targeted by the SEIU have unionized or even requested an election vote. According to a statement from Sodexo, the SEIU engaged in a smear campaign in an effort to drive out rival labor unions that have traditionally operated in the foodservice industry as well as for general publicity.
Sodexo filed a lawsuit in March 2011 under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act accusing the SEIU of "engaging in illegal tactics in its effort to unionize workers". During the trial, it was revealed that the SEIU had written and distributed a manual to its staff detailing how "outside pressure can involve jeopardizing relationships between the employer and lenders, investors, stockholders, customers, clients, patients, tenants, politicians, or others on whom the employer depends for funds." Tactics recommended include references to blackmail, extortion, accusations of racism and sexism, and targeting the homes and neighborhoods of business leaders for demonstrations. Following the court discovery of this document, the SEIU agreed to terminate their public campaign focused on Sodexo and the charges against SEIU were dropped.
In May 2011, 27 University of Washington students were arrested during a sit in at the University's administrative offices for protesting the University's concessions contract with Sodexo. Shortly after, on 19 May, another thirteen students were arrested under similar circumstances.
In April 2012, a Sodexo regional manager disrupted a student protest at the State University of New York at New Paltz by tearing up protesters' signs. Students there had organized a protest to highlight what they saw as the company's unethical treatment of workers and its lack of response to issues of sustainability.
On 22 February 2013, all of the frozen beef products used by Sodexo in the UK were withdrawn following the discovery of horse DNA in a sample. The company supplies 2,300 institutions, including schools, senior citizen homes, prisons and branches of the armed forces within the UK.
In August 2013, Sodexo Justice Services was criticised in an official report for subjecting a female prisoner to "cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment", which "appears to amount to torture" at HMP Bronzefield in Ashford, Surrey, UK. The woman was kept segregated from other prisoners in an "unkempt and squalid" prison cell for more than five years.
In March 2016 complaints by British Military personnel about the poor quality of the food served on military bases under the "Pay As You Dine" (PAYD) contract were reported in the national media following a social media campaign and parliamentary petition by serving and retired service personnel. Although this was denied by the company citing a lack of verifiable evidence, multiple reports emerged on social media of complaints submitted by service personnel being destroyed or removed in military dining facilities and Sodexo staff refusing to replace poor quality food.
In February 2019, Sodexo was criticized by the United Kingdom Ministry of Justice for failing to prevent repeated and systemic breaches of the human rights of inmates at the Sodexo-operated HMP Peterborough. This stemmed from a series of illegal strip-searches of prisoners at the jail in 2017, including one inmate who was menstruating and another who was transitioning from female to male. Justice Julian Knowles described the illegal procedures as "humiliating and embarrassing."
Sodexo the owners of HMP Bronzefield in Surrey are being investigated for allowing a women to give birth alone in her cell with any kind of medical support. The baby was found dead in the early hours of Friday September 27th 2019.
The Sodexo operation at Loyola Marymount University has come under fire for allegedly mistreating food service workers. The union has threatened to strike when Democratic Party presidential candidates arrive on campus, inspiring all of the Democratic candidates scheduled to appear on the debate stage to boycott the debates on campus if workers are still striking when the debates arrive.
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