Jean-Yves Fontaine graduated from the Paris Hospitality and Catering School (L’école hôtelière de Paris) and holds an MBA from the HEC business school. In 1983, he joined Générale de Restauration, which subsequently became Elior Group. Over the next few years, he was promoted up the ladder from restaurant manager to head of operations and then regional manager. In 2000 he took up the position of CEO of Sopresthel which he helped steer when the company was taken over by, and integrated into the Group.
He was appointed Director of Operations for the French healthcare market in 2001 then became the Commercial Director of the Hôpital Services subsidiary. From 2006, as Chairman of Vivae / Alsacienne de Restauration then Ansamble, he orchestrated their integration into the Group, as well as their strategic repositioning and financial turnaround.