Michael J. Bailey


Michael J. Bailey is the co-founder and chairman of Elior North America.

Mike began his career after leaving school at 15 and working as a trainee chef for Peter Merchant at the European headquarters of Ford Motor Company. After graduating from the Southend Culinary School and Westminster University, he joined the newly formed Gardner Merchant, where he worked as foodservice director, district manager, and regional director, ultimately joining the board of directors in 1982.

In 1985, Mike moved to the US to assume the role of President of Gardner Merchant’s US-based contract foodservice business. In six years he and his team took the US business from $40 million to $250 million in revenue.

In 1993 Mike joined Compass Group PLC as Development Director, where he was a key member of the team that led the buyout of Canteen Corporation the following year. In June 1994 Mike was appointed President of Compass Group N.A. and elected to the group board of Compass Group PLC. By 1999, under his leadership, the US business had grown from $1 billion annual sales to more than $3 billion. He was named CEO of Compass Group PLC in July of that year.

Mike led Compass Group PLC for seven years, and in June 2006 he took early retirement. During his tenure, annual revenues from group operations in more than 90 countries grew from $10 billion to $22 billion, clearly establishing the company as the world market leader in the contract foodservice industry.

Today Mike serves as chairman of the board of Elior North America, overseeing the continued growth of the company.