Executive Committee

The Executive Committee reviews and authorizes material concerning operating contracts under negotiation in France and in international markets, and related capital projects. It does the same for proposed company acquisitions or divestments, strategic partnerships and acquisitions of contract or business portfolios.

Each month, the Committee reviews the Group’s operational and marketing performance and discusses the information derived from division-level performance reviews. It initiates and oversees cross-functional programs involving the sales and marketing, human resources, finance, budget control and purchasing functions, and programs to optimize productivity and the cost base.

The Group Executive Committee comprises the following members:

  • Philippe Guillemot, Group Chief Executive Officer
  • Pedro Fontana, Group Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Areas Worldwide Chief Executive Officer
  • Benoît Cornu, Group Chief Communications Officer
  • Bernard Duverneuil, Group Chief Information and Digital Officer
  • Pierre von Essen, Elior France Chief Executive Officer
  • Esther Gaide, Group Chief Financial Officer
  • Ruxandra Ispas, Group Chief Procurement and Logistics Officer
  • Brian Poplin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Elior North America
  • Gilles Rafin, President of Elior Services

Philippe Guillemot

Philippe Guillemot

Philippe Guillemot was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Elior Group on December 5, 2017.

Between 2013 and 2016, Philippe Guillemot was Chief Operating Officer at Alcatel-Lucent, a global company with significant exposure to the US market and at the heart of the digital revolution. He was brought into the company to draw up a business recovery and transformation plan and subsequently oversaw Alcatel-Lucent's integration into Nokia.

From 2010 through 2012, he was CEO and a Board member of Europcar, where he modernized the company’s brand image and offerings to make them more appealing and more suited to customer expectations. During his time with Europcar he also launched a large-scale plan to improve operating efficiency in very challenging market conditions.

From 2004 through 2010, Philippe Guillemot served as Chairman and CEO of Areva Transmission and Distribution (T&D), which subsequently became a division of Alstom, and was a member of Areva’s Executive Committee. In this role he successfully implemented two strategic plans to turn around the business and significantly boost its profitability. During the six years he was with Areva T&D, the entity extensively enlarged its international footprint, doubled its revenue and increased its value fourfold.

Before joining Areva T&D, Philippe Guillemot was a member of the Executive Committees at the automotive suppliers Faurecia (2001-2003) and Valeo (1998-2000). At both of these companies he oversaw the global expansion of divisions with revenue of several billion euros. Prior to that he held executive posts at Michelin (1993-1998 and 1983-1989), where he was appointed to his first Executive Committee position at the age of thirty-six. Alongside Edouard Michelin he was the architect behind the product line-based organization structure that enabled Michelin to pursue a profitable growth trajectory and whose fundamentals are still in place today.

Philippe Guillemot holds an MBA from Harvard University and is a graduate of the French engineering school, École des Mines de Nancy. He is also a knight of the French National Order of Merit.

Philippe Guillemot is a director of two companies listed on the New York stock exchange (Constellium and Sonoco).

Pedro Fontana

Pedro Fontana is an MBA graduate from Harvard University. He began his career in the banking sector, where he successively held the posts of Regional Director of Banco del Comercio from 1978 to 1983 and Chief Executive Officer of Banca Mas Sardá from 1983 to 1989. In 1990, he was appointed Director General of the Barcelona Olympics Organizing Committee and in 1993 he became the CEO of Barcelona’s Tourist Office. In 1994, he returned to the banking sector where he served as Chairman of Banca Catalana until 1999 and then CEO Cataluña for Banco Bilbao Vizcaya until 2009. Alongside his professional career, Pedro Fontana also held the positions of President of the Círculo de Economía (1996-1999), Chairman of the Board of Directors of Barcelona University (1994-2004) and President of the Board of Trustees of the ESADE Foundation (2009-2013). He is currently a member of the Boards of Directors of Fira Barcelona, the Indukern Group and Banco Sabadell, a member of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a member of the Board of Ramon Llull University. He joined Areas in 1998 as a member of the Board of Directors before being appointed Vice-Chairman in 2001 and Executive Chairman in 2012. Pedro Fontana has been CEO of Areas Worldwide since August 2015 and also Group Deputy CEO since July 26, 2017.

Benoît Cornu

Benoit Cornu

A graduate of ESC Dijon (Burgundy School of Business), Benoît Cornu began his career as a marketing researcher at the Prosop Institut and then at Chronopost. In 1998 he joined Match supermarkets (Cora group) where he was in charge of brand development projects. In 2000, he was appointed Marketing and Coordination Director of Opéra, the central procurement unit of the Casino and Cora-Match groups. In 2002, he became Deputy Chief Executive Officer of EMC Distribution (the central procurement unit of the Casino group), then in 2003 Vice President, Communications and External Relations, for the Casino group. In 2007 he was appointed Chief Communications Officer of the PMU group. Over the past ten years, Benoît Cornu has worked on PMU’s project to completely transform its business, brand and image, against a backdrop of increasing globalization, the digital revolution, and the French gambling industry being opened up to competition. In 2016 he was named Communications Person of the Year by France’s largest corporate communications trade association, Communication & Entreprise.

Bernard Duverneuil

Bernard Duverneuil

A graduate from École Polytechnique and Telecom ParisTech, Bernard Duverneuil has 25 years’ experience in information systems, digital transformation and innovation. He began his career in the services industry (Générale de Service Informatique), then moved to management and strategy consulting firms (Coopers & Lybrand, A.T. Kearney). Next, he founded and managed an e-commerce start-up before joining the Lagardère group where he was Chief Information Officer for 8 years. Additionally, between 2006 and 2008, he created and led the innovation hub, a transversal initiative to boost the development of innovative media offers linked to digital technology. In 2009, Bernard Duverneuil joined Essilor International as Group Chief Information Officer, also becoming a member of the Executive Committee. Managing the company’s information technology projects led him to define and implement the IT strategy that supported its digital transformation. Bernard Duverneuil has been President of Cigref (a society bringing together the CIOs of over 140 key French companies and administrations) since 2016. One of his missions there is to develop companies’ ability to implement and master digital technology.

Pierre von Essen

Pierre von Essen

Pierre von Essen is a graduate of the Institut d'études politiques de Paris. He began his career with the Jacques Borel group, where he successively served as Human Resources Director, Marketing Director, and Business Development Director of the corporate catering market before being appointed to head up the Greater Paris Area division in 1990 and subsequently the France division in 1997. Pierre von Essen accompanied the Group's external growth in France via numerous acquisitions (such as LRP, L’Alsacienne de Restauration, Ansamble) and was the driving force behind setting up a system of key accounts, developing fast-food solutions and launching the first franchises in the corporate catering market. In 2002, Pierre von Essen was appointed Managing Director – Business & Industry – France, and Vending Machines, at Elior. Between 2010 and 2015 he served on the Group's Executive Committee.

Esther Gaide

Esther Gaide - Elior Group

Esther Gaide graduated from Essec (Paris) and is a chartered accountant. She began her career in 1983 working in the external audit departments of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Paris and London, then with Deloitte in Paris and the USA. In 1994, she joined Bolloré Group where she was appointed Group Internal Audit Director, set up the Internal Audit Department and participated both in the reorganization of the maritime department and the takeover of the Rivaud Group. Between 1996 and 2006, she successively held the posts of CFO of the Logistics Division, CFO of the Bolloré Africa Logistics division and ultimately Group Controller, in charge of all Group accounting. In 2006, she moved to Havas to take up the position of Deputy Chief Financial Officer and Director of Human Resources. In 2011, Esther Gaide went on to join Technicolor (ex-Thomson) as Group Controller. In 2012, she was appointed Deputy Chief Financial Officer before becoming CFO and member of the Executive Committee in 2015. In addition, Esther is a member of the Board of Directors and the Audit Committee of the Eutelsat Group. Esther Gaide was appointed Chief Financial Officer of Elior Group on March 15th 2018.

Ruxandra Ispas

Ruxandra Ispas

Ruxandra Ispas holds a master’s degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Bucharest. She started her career with Placoplatre, as pan-European project director, then joined Deloitte & Touche Consulting in France as senior manager, responsible for the Carrefour key account. In 2001 she joined Danone Group, where she held various leadership roles in procurement, supply chain, and organization over 11 years. Ruxandra Ispas led global ingredients procurement for the dairy division, developed agricultural sourcing across the world, built strategic supplier partnerships and enrolled suppliers on a collaborative R&D platform to accelerate innovation. She also led a major Group transformation program to increase organizational flexibility, improve efficiency and create conditions for growth. In 2011 she joined Diageo, the world's largest producer of spirits, as Group Senior Vice President for packaging procurement and procurement innovation. In this role she implemented best-in-class practices and excellence standards, led a major supplier investment to support growth and developed the process of collaborative innovation. Between September 2015 and December 2017 Ruxandra Ispas served as Group Chief Procurement Officer for SIG plc, a British BtoB distributor specialized in building materials. In this capacity she started the process of structuring and modernizing the function, and improving the performance across Europe.

Brian Poplin


Brian Poplin obtained a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Indiana Wesleyan University in 1996, a Master of Science in business management in 1998 and a Doctorate in health administration and policy from the Medical University of South Carolina in 2010. He started his career in 1990 in the United States Air Force. He joined ServiceMaster in 1994 and became a Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician. After ServiceMaster was acquired by Aramark in 2001, he moved into a series of corporate roles and became the leader in 2009 and the President of Aramark’s Healthcare Technologies business in 2011. In 2013, Brian Poplin joined Medical Staffing Network as President and CEO. Since April 2015, Brian is President and CEO of TrustHouse Services Group, the American contract catering subsidiary of the Group which became Elior North America in May 2016. 

Gilles Rafin

Gilles Rafin

A graduate from a business school, Gilles Rafin has close to 40 years’ experience in services, including cleaning. After becoming Sales Director at ISS France in 1983, he founded Hôpital Service the next year, a company specialized in cleaning and hospitality services for healthcare establishments. He was its Chief Executive Officer and then its President, working with successive shareholders such as ISS, Otor and Générale de Santé, a subsidiary of Générale des Eaux which supported the company for 14 years. Hôpital Service was a French leader in specialized cleaning and hospitality services for healthcare establishments when it became part of the Elior group in 2004. From 2005 to 2010, Gilles Rafin headed Elior France’s healthcare business unit. After the acquisition of Sin&Stes in 2010, he became President of Elior Services. Gilles Rafin is also President of Genim (French trade syndicate for multiregional cleaning companies) and Secretary of the French Federation of cleaning companies.