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Sodexo S.A.
Société Anonyme
Traded as EuronextSW
Industry Conglomerate
Founded 1966; 50 years ago (1966)
Founder Pierre Bellon
Headquarters Issy-les-Moulineaux, France
Area served
Key people
Pierre Bellon (Chairman), Michel Landel (CEO)
Services Foodservice, facility management, service vouchers
Revenue 16.04 billion (2011)[1]
€853 million (2011)[1]
Profit €945 million (2011)[1]
Total assets €111.40 billion (2011)[1]
Total equity €2.535 billion (2011)[1]
Number of employees
413,000 (2011)[1]

Sodexo (formerly Sodexho Alliance) is a French food services and facilities management multinational corporation headquartered in the Paris suburb of Issy-les-Moulineaux, France.[2] Sodexo is one of the largest companies in the world in its business, with 380,000 employees, representing 130 nationalities, present on 34,000 sites in 80 countries. For fiscal year 2010 (ending August 2009) revenues reached 15.3 billion euros, with a market capitalization of 6.5 billion euros. Revenues by region represent: 37% Continental Europe, 38% North America, 8% UK and Ireland, 17% Rest of World.

Sodexo is organized into two entities, dubbed "On-Site Service Solutions" and "Motivation Solutions".[clarification needed] Sodexo serves many sectors, including private corporations, government agencies, schools from elementary through university, hospitals and clinics, assisted-living facilities, military bases, and correctional facilities.


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[3] 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.[4]

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 America.[4]

In 2002, Sodexho was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

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, Earvin 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.[5]

Since September 2007, its United States operations have been headed by President and CEO George Chavel, who replaced Richard Macedonia.

In 2007, Sodexho launched its catering arm in United Kingdom schools, using the brand name "For you...".

The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity is the leading assessment of diversity management in corporate America and globally. In 2010, Sodexo ranked number 1. According to the report,[6] 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.[citation needed]

In 2011, Sodexo entered an 8-year contract with the American government, by which the company commits itself to provide food services to 51 United States Marines Corps mess halls.[7]

Financial figures (2009–2010)[edit]

Sodexo reported revenues of €15,3 billion in the 12 months ended February 2010 and an organic growth of 0.4%.[citation needed] It benefits from a Corporate Credit Rating of BBB+ (Standard & Poor).[citation needed]

Food services and facilities management[edit]

Sodexo offerings range from self-service food services that include 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.). ABM is Sodexo's primary integrated facility management services competitor in the United States.

Service Vouchers and Cards (SVC)[edit]

One of the top two companies worldwide in this sector,[citation needed] 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 [8]

Name change[edit]

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.[9] 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.[9]


There have been at least nine boycotts of Sodexo, for varying reasons: at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts,[10] at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, at the American University in Washington D.C., and at Université Laval in Quebec City, at Binghamton University in New York, and Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, at DePauw University in Indiana, Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia, Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia,[11][12][13] at Nordea banks in Finland, at the University of Tampere, Finland and at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.[14] At DePauw University the students protested against Sodexo's alleged low pay, former investment in private prison businesses, and the lack of local food options.[15]

At Nordea banks, the issue was a cut in wages after Sodexo took over the bank's workplace food services.[16][17] After a successful boycott, the wages were raised.[18]

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.[19][20] 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,[21][22][23] 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.[24]

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".[25] 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.[26] Following the court discovery of this document, SEIU agreed to terminate their public campaign focused on Sodexo and the charges against SEIU were dropped.[27]

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.[28] Shortly after, on May 19, another 13 students were arrested under similar circumstances.[29]

Police report of the April 2012 incident at SUNY New Paltz.

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.[30] 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.[31]

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.[32] The company supplies 2,300 institutions, including schools, senior citizen homes, prisons and branches of the armed forces within the UK.[32]

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.[33]

Management Study[edit]

In 2015, a study found that Sodexo units with nearly equal men and women managers were consistently more profitable than units dominated by men.[34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Annual Report 2010" (PDF). Sodexo. Retrieved 4 May 2011. 
  2. ^ "Contact Us." Sodexo. Retrieved on 1 June 2010.
  3. ^ "Global 500 : 437. Sodexo". CNN. Retrieved April 12, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Sodexo History Milestones". Retrieved March 12, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Magic Johnson Forms Deal With Food Service Vendor Sodexho". Fox News. 2011-12-07. 
  6. ^ "Sodexo No. 1 on the 2010 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity®". PRWeb. 12 March 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2015. 
  7. ^ "Our History." Sodexo, 1 Jan. 2011. Web. 1 Jan. 2015. <>.
  8. ^ "Sodexho Links With Freedompay". Retrieved 2015-09-16. 
  9. ^ a b "Sodexho becomes Sodexo, the reference brand in Quality of Life services" (Press release). Sodexo. 2008-01-23. Retrieved 2008-01-23. 
  10. ^ Scott, Sarah (2014-09-24). "Students protest Sodexo meal plan changes and new dining protocols". The Justice (Waltham, MA). Retrieved 2014-09-25. 
  11. ^ Group Rekindles Debate on Sodexo Labor Issues | The Emory Wheel
  12. ^ Sodexo Rally Features Notable Faces, Amasses Support | The Emory Wheel
  13. ^ Emory Police Arrest Seven for Trespassing on Quad | The Emory Wheel
  14. ^ Farragher, Molly (2009-12-06). "Students lose appetite for Sodexo dining". Los Angeles Loyolan. Retrieved 2010-08-19. 
  15. ^ Lamkin, Robin (2006-09-19). "Students plan Sodexho boycott". The Depauw. Retrieved 2010-08-19. 
  16. ^ Nordean toimihenkilöt boikotoivat Sodexhoa - - Politiikka
  17. ^ "Sodexo Services Group Limited: Private Company Information - Businessweek". Retrieved 16 September 2015. 
  18. ^ Julkaisutyökalu | Ammattiliitto Suora
  19. ^ Bush, Bill (2010-04-15). "Ohio State protest ends with 20-25 arrests". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 2010-08-19. 
  20. ^ Brown, Ben (2010-04-15). "25 protestors arrested for blocking High Street". The Lantern. Retrieved 2010-08-19. 
  21. ^ "200 Sodexo Cafeteria Workers at the UPitt Walk Off to Protest Intimidation & Unaffordable Health Care". NY daily news. 2010-04-27. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  22. ^ "Union says Pitt cafeteria workers have 3-year deal". BusinessWeek. 2010-08-18. Retrieved 2010-08-18. [dead link]
  23. ^ "Pitt cafeteria workers approve contract". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. 2010-08-18. Retrieved 2010-08-19. 
  24. ^ "Sodexo Response to SEIU Activity". Sodexo. 2010-10-21. Retrieved 2011-02-03. 
  25. ^ Pelofsky, Jeremy (2011-03-17). "Sodexo sues SEIU over tactics to unionize workers". Reuters. 
  26. ^
  27. ^ "SEIU and Sodexo Reach Amicable Settlement". 2011-09-15. 
  28. ^ Wong, Brittany (2011-05-11). "25 UW students arrested in sit-in over vendor". Seattle Times. Retrieved 13 May 2011. 
  29. ^ Schweppe, Sarah. "We're not going away". The Daily of the University of Washington. 
  30. ^ "SUNY New Paltz students protest about food service". Retrieved 2015-09-16. 
  31. ^ Ben Kindlon (2012-04-19). "Students Raise Concerns About Sodexo". Retrieved 2015-09-16. 
  32. ^ a b Meikle, James (22 February 2013). "Horsemeat scandal: schools caterer suspends all frozen beef products". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  33. ^ Saul, Heather (21 August 2013). "'Cruel, inhumane and degrading': Female prisoner kept segregated in 'squalid' cell for five years". The Independent (UK). Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
  34. ^ Kirka, Danica (23 March 2015). "For business, more women in charge means bigger profits". Retrieved 27 March 2015. 

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