Founder + Chairman
Michael J. Bailey started his career in the foodservice business as a trainee chef at the age of 16. He joined Peter Merchant at the European headquarters of Ford Motor Company. Peter Merchant later merged with John Gardner Ltd. to form Gardner Merchant. After the merger, Mike continued to progress through the organizational structure as foodservice director, district manager, regional director and ultimately joined the board of directors in 1982.
In 1985, Mike moved to the US assuming the role of President of Gardner Merchant’s US based contract foodservice business. By 1991, he and his team had achieved revenue growth of $210 million; taking the US business from $40 - $250 million
Mike joined Compass Group PLC in 1993 as Development Director. He was a key member of the team that led the buyout of US based Canteen Corporation in 1994. In June of that year, 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 over $3 billion. These results in addition to his extensive experience paved the way to his promotion to CEO of Compass Group PLC in July 1999.
Mike held the CEO position for 7-years taking early retirement in June 2006. During his tenure, the group’s annual revenues generated by operations in more than 90 countries grew from $10 billion to $22 billion making Compass Group PLC the clear world market leader in the contract foodservice industry.
In April 2008, Mike co-founded TrustHouse Services Group (now known as Elior North America). The business grew from revenues of $100 million in 2008 to $450 million by 2013 through a combination of organic and acquisitive growth.
In 2013, Mike along with his Private Equity partner, sold a majority stake in the company to Elior SA. He is a graduate of Southend Culinary School and Westminister University. He currently resides in Charlotte, NC with his wife Michelle. Mike has three daughters and one son.
Dr. Brian Poplin
President + Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Brian Poplin joined Elior North America, subsidiary of Elior SA, on April 6, 2015 as President and Chief Executive Officer.
Brian began 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, Brian moved into a series of corporate roles that culminated in his leadership of the Aramark Healthcare Technologies business from 2009 through 2013. His dynamic leadership style and vision led to the acquisition of the Masterplan group of companies in 2011 and the creation of the largest independent technology management services company within the healthcare sector. Brian advanced as President in 2011, successfully leading more than 1,600 employees and driving annual revenues exceeding $500 million.
In April 2013, Brian joined Medical Staffing Network Healthcare as President and Chief Executive Officer. During his tenure, he optimized performance by improving access to qualified caregivers and innovative workforce solutions across the country. In late 2014 he led the successful sale of the organization to a strategic buyer in the healthcare staffing industry.
Brian’s educational background and professional experiences have molded him into a proven and successful leader within an array of industries. Since 1996, Brian has obtained a Doctorate in Health Administration and Policy from the Medical University of South Carolina, a Master of Science in Business Management, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Indiana Wesleyan University.
A former two term President of the North Carolina Biomedical Association (NCBA) his contributions have been focused on both the local and national level. He continues to support the Medical University of South Carolina as a member of their foundation and as an advisory board member for the College of Health Professions. In 2015, Brian was recognized as a Distinguished Alumni.
Executive Vice President + Chief Growth Officer
Chris Ciatto was named Executive Vice President and Chief Growth Officer for Elior North America in June 2015. He focuses on corporate strategy and driving organic growth while expanding sales and marketing efforts.
Chris’ career began in 1995 and has been predominantly dedicated to strategy development, sales, operations, and leadership in both the health and wellness industries. Starting as a key member of the executive teams at Aramark and McKinsey & Co., Chris focused on helping some of the country’s leading consumer and technology companies grow their businesses aggressively.
From 2005 to 2015, Chris served as Chief Executive Officer of Plus One Health Management, a provider of comprehensive health promotion solutions, where he was integral to the company’s exponential growth. He implemented an overall growth strategy that included targeted selling, creation of new strategic partnerships and the execution of three successful acquisitions which propelled Plus One into its position as one of the fastest-growing private companies in the country.
Chris became Senior Vice President of Prevention Solutions for OptumHealth, a division of UnitedHealth Group, following their acquisition of Plus One in August 2013. He was responsible for a full complement of health and wellness offerings including their onsite physical activity and nutrition programs. During his leadership tenure with OptumHealth, Chris executed a major financial turnaround driven by new product introductions, accelerated organic sales and strong financial discipline.
Chris earned a joint Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Economics from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He currently resides with his family and rescue dog in Wayne, PA and enjoys healthy cooking and staying active.
Chief Financial Officer
Robb Schreck joined Elior North America as Chief Financial Officer in May 2016. In this role, Robb leads the Finance, Information Technology, Procurement and the Shared Service Center teams in developing strategic plans, attaining operational and financial goals and increasing shareholder value.
Robb joins the company with more than 20 years of leadership experience in finance, general management, supply chain and sales. He was most recently Vice President of Finance & Business Unit CFO for the Power Tools Business at Ingersoll Rand. While in this role, Robb led all financial aspects of the stand-alone business unit’s global manufacturing footprint and sales distribution channels. He managed a team of 20 individuals globally to successfully oversee the commercial, operational, FP&A and compliance aspects of the business. During his eight-year tenure with Ingersoll Rand, Robb worked in various leadership roles in the organization from distribution and logistics to sales and services providing him with the unique ability to understand all aspects of the business. He has extensive experience in strategic planning, revenue generation, cost effective operations and technical support.
Robb earned a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Niagara University and an MBA from University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He resides in the Charlotte, NC area with his family.
Executive Vice President of Mergers and Acquisitions
Hugh’s career in the foodservice industry began in 1978 in the role of financial accountant for Gardner Merchant in Sheffield, England. Hugh progressed steadily into more senior financial roles and in 1984, was promoted to the position of Financial Controller for the Gardner Merchant group based at their head office in Reigate, Surrey, England.
In 1986, Hugh relocated to the US assuming the role of Chief Financial Officer for Gardner Merchant’s fledgling US business, reporting to Mike Bailey. At the time of Gardner Merchant’s acquisition by Sodexo in 1995, Gardner Merchant’s US business had grown both organically and through acquisition to almost $500 million in annual revenue. Hugh remained with Sodexo as VP of Finance until 1998 at which time he joined Compass Group N.A. as CFO – Specialty Markets. He subsequently transitioned into the role of VP – Strategic Planning concentrating specifically on acquisitions.
Hugh joined Elior North America in 2008 as Chief Financial Officer and is one of the founding members of the company. Hugh moved into the EVP, Mergers and Acquisitions role to focus on strategic growth initiatives for the organization in May 2016.
Hugh is a Chartered Certified Accountant. He resides in Charlotte with his wife, Chantal. They have two sons, a daughter and seven grandchildren.
Executive Vice President of Human Resources
Pat Ahern joined Elior North America in December 2016. In this role, Pat is responsible for driving a dynamic and comprehensive human resources strategy for the company. This includes implementing best-in-class training and development programs, establishing a comprehensive suite of benefits and driving effective talent management for team members across the Elior North America family of companies.
Pat Ahern joins Elior with more than 20 years of Human Resources leadership experience with dynamic and diversified organizations. He is results-oriented with strong operational and financial acumen and has a history of driving business results to address strategic, operational and financial needs with practical talent management and HR programs.
Most recently, Pat was the Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Cross Country Healthcare, where he was responsible for leading human resources for this publicly traded staffing company. While in this role, he successfully led the design and implementation of an effective and efficient corporate support structure while also integrating a major, strategic acquisition. Prior to this role, Pat led human resources for organizations with greater than 25,000 employees and $2B in annual revenue.
Pat earned a Bachelor’s degree in Management from Florida State University. He currently resides in Charlotte, NC and enjoys spending time with his three children.
Vice President of Legal Affairs
Brittany brings more than a decade of diverse experience in business and corporate law to the Elior North America, including extensive experience in contract negotiation and management, labor and employment law and corporate compliance. Brittany most recently held the position of General Counsel for the Elior North America subsidiary, A’viands, LLC. Before joining the Elior North America companies, Brittany defended and represented management clients with the law firms of Dorsey and Whitney, LLP and Seaton, Peters and Revnew, PA. Brittany served as a law clerk for Target Corporation and served as a federal judicial extern. As a volunteer attorney for Children’s Law Center of Minnesota, Brittany continues to represent children who are in Minnesota’s foster care system.
Brittany earned dual bachelor degrees from the University of Minnesota and earned her Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, from William Mitchell School of Law. Brittany resides in St. Anthony, Minnesota with her husband and two children.
Vice President of Finance
Julie Hennecy joined Elior North America in 2011 as Group Corporate Controller based in Charlotte and, in 2013, was promoted to Vice President of Finance for the rapidly growing Elior North America organization. Julie’s responsibilities center squarely on the leadership and coordination of the financial planning and reporting function for Elior North America as a whole. Responding to the inevitable demands associated with business growth, Julie’s responsibilities include the development and implementation of effective, uniform accounting policy and procedure, together with a robust financial reporting system which conforms to generally accepted accounting principles. In addition to these responsibilities, Julie’s role includes oversight of the corporate tax function.
Julie’s career began in public accounting with Ernst & Young. Julie subsequently made the transition to industry where she applied her professional background to the task of developing accounting and finance infrastructures to support organizations with high growth business models. During her fourteen year career at Compass Group, Julie advanced in progressively senior roles in the organization, gaining invaluable and extensive experience initially in internal audit, progressing into increasingly senior roles in financial planning and reporting and, ultimately into a controllership position for the company. During Julie’s tenure in financial planning and subsequently while she was Controller for Canteen National Accounts, Compass Group experienced very significant growth, both organic and acquisitive, during which time Julie was able to hone her skills within a highly dynamic and constantly changing environment.
Prior to joining Elior North America , Julie served as the CFO of a shared services entity created to provide accounting and finance services to six non-profit entities, during which time she successfully completed her mission of creating an outsourcing model that could be scaled and effectively applied to other not-for-profit organizations across the country.
Julie graduated from Converse College with a BA in Accounting and Psychology and is a Certified Public Accountant. Julie is a graduate of Leadership Charlotte and, when not at work, enjoys traveling, the great outdoors, and relaxing with friends and family.
Vice President of Culinary Development
Mark Fortino has over 30 years of culinary, operations and leadership experience in the foodservice industry. Mark most recently served as Vice President of Operations for Elior North America where he led culinary operations, special projects and Corporate Social Responsibility. Previous to this role, he was President of Fitz, Vogt and Associates (a division of Elior North America), a leading provider of culinary and food services in New England and the Mid-Atlantic States.
Mark started his career in a family catering business and went on to graduate from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. Mark began his formal career at Tavern on The Green in Central Park as Chef Saucier. From there he apprenticed at The Ritz on Central Park South and worked every station in a traditional, classic French Brigade system. His career took him to hotels and casinos, finally settling in as a Corporate Chef with ServiceMaster for ten years. He went on to work for Compass Group in various roles, primarily as an Executive Chef and in Purchasing Compliance. Currently, Mark is Vice President of Culinary Development for Elior North America.
Mark was in the inaugural class of Certified Culinary Administrators for the American Culinary Federation and was instrumental in developing the accreditation examination. Mark was a Certified Executive Chef through The American Culinary Federation and continues to practice the ancient craft of cooking at every opportunity.