Pierre Bellon has his autobiography entitled, “I Have Had A Great Time”. Given the fact that the company he founded has become very successful you’ve got to have some degree of agreement with the title of his autobiography.
He was born on January 24, 1930 in Marseille, France. Bellon founded Sodexo in 1966 which is engaged in multinational food service and facilities management. This publicly traded company is listed in the New York and Paris stock exchanges. Bellon started the enterprise by first serving company restaurants, schools and hospitals. The company name then translated in English was Hotel Services Corporation.
The company expanded its business in France and internationally in the 1970s. It began its international expansion by entering Belgium, then Africa, and then the Middle East. In 1983 the company had its IPO on the Paris Bourse. With its new found strength the business continued with its expansion into North America, South America, Japan, South Africa, and Russia.
By 2001 the company changed its name to Sodexho Alliance. Its growth was not merely organic, Bellon has his company form alliances with other companies like Gardner Merchant, Sogeres, and Partena. Sodexho Alliance merged with Universal Ogden Services in 2000 which catapulted it as the leader in remote site management.
Earlier in 1998, the company became one of the largest food services providers in the U.S. when it merged with Marriot Management Services which at that time was one of the largest food services company in North America. As part of the merger the company at that time changed its name to Sodexho Marriott Services.
The year 2002 saw Sodexho being listed in the New York Stock Exchange. Three years later Bellon who had been the company CEO relinquished the position and Michel Landel became the new CEO. Bellon still remains as chairman of the board of directors. Since 1988 Bellon has been the Chairman and CEO of Bellon SA, the family holding company that controls Sodexho SA.
Today Sodexo has become a very large multinational company. It has around 413,000 employees and is the second largest employer among French multinational corporations. The company had revenues of €16.04 billion in 2011, with net income of €451 million.
Having founded such a huge company you can’t blame Bellon for having had a great time.