Gilles Cojan, Chairman of the Board of Directors Pedro Fontana, Chief Executive Officer
Following the decision by Elior Group's Board of Directors at its July 26, 2017 meeting to separate the roles of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Gilles Cojan – who has been appointed by the Board as a director – has been named Chairman of Elior Group’s Board of Directors, and Pedro Fontana, currently Group Deputy CEO and CEO of Concession Catering Worldwide, has been appointed as the Group's interim Chief Executive Officer, both with effect from November 1, 2017.
Gilles Cojan, 63, graduated from ESSEC business school in 1977. He began his career in 1978 as Treasurer at the pharmaceuticals group, Servier, before joining Banque Transatlantique to take up the position of CEO of its subsidiary, GTI Finance. In 1990, he was appointed head of the Financing and Treasury department at Valeo.
Gilles Cojan joined Elior in 1992 as Chief Financial Officer before going on to become CEO of Elior International and Group Chief Strategy Officer.
Acting alongside Elior’s founders – Robert Zolade and Francis Markus – he ensured the success of the MBO organized in 1992 and completed in 1996. Then in 1997, again with the founders, he organized two successive LBOs for the contract catering and concession catering businesses, which resulted in the creation of the Elior Group. As from that date he was directly responsible for implementing the Group’s internationalization strategy, which led to it successively entering the UK, Spanish and Italian markets.
Gilles Cojan was the driving force behind a number of the major partnerships that have stepped up the pace of the Group’s growth, including the partnership set up in 2001 with the Spain-based company Areas, which helped the Group strengthen its leadership position in concession catering, and then the alliance forged in 2013 with the founder of THS, which underpinned Elior’s rapid development strategy in the United States.
In 2000, he oversaw Elior’s IPO and then in 2006, with Robert Zolade, he organized the Company’s voluntary stock market de-listing followed by a new LBO carried out with the aim of accelerating the Group’s development.
In 2010, he had the idea of creating a “services” business which has now become an integral part of the Group.
Since 2007, Gilles Cojan has also been the CEO of BIM, Elior Group’s principal shareholder. In the same year he was appointed a member of Elior’s Supervisory Board, sitting alongside Robert Zolade and representatives of Charterhouse, and in June 2014, when the Company was re-listed, he became a member of its Board of Directors.
He is currently a member of Elior Group’s Audit Committee and its Strategy, Investments and CSR Committee and was appointed Vice-Chairman of the Group on July 26, 2017.
Gilles Cojan has now been appointed Chairman of Elior Group’s Board of Directors, effective November 1, 2017.
Pedro Fontana, 65, is an MBA graduate from Harvard University (1976). 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 Concession Catering Worldwide for Elior Group since August 2015 and also Group Deputy CEO since July 26, 2017.
Pedro Fontana has been appointed as Elior Group’s interim Chief Executive Officer, effective November 1, 2017.
On July 26, 2017, the Group’s Board of Directors asked the Nominations and Compensation Committee to begin the recruitment process for the new Elior Group Chief Executive Officer. It is still under way.