Sophie Bellon is Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of Sodexo, the global leader in Quality of Life services, present in 80 countries.
Sophie Bellon has been on the Sodexo Board of Directors since 1989. She is also a member of the Bellon SA Management Board. In November 2013, Sophie was nominated to succeed her father, Pierre Bellon, as Chair of the Sodexo Board of Directors in January 2016. Sophie has also been a member of the L’Oréal Group Board of Directors since April 2015.
Born in Paris in 1961 and graduating in 1983 from EDHEC, one of the top French Business Schools, Sophie opted early on for an international career. Her entrepreneurial and multidisciplinary background led her to New York where she began her career in 1984 as part of Crédit Lyonnais’ mergers and acquisitions department, then later as an agent representing international fashion brands.
After 10 years in the US, Sophie returned to France to join Sodexo in 1994. Since then she has participated in a number of key steps to grow the company.
In 1994, as project manager in the Finance department, she worked on the acquisition of Gardner Merchant and Marriott Management Services, each of which helped to double Sodexo’s revenue and boost its status as a multinational company.
In 2001 further to these acquisitions, with a view to standardizing subsidiary reporting, Sophie took charge of Operational Control where she defined and introduced the Group’s operational performance indicators, which are still in force today.
Appointed Group Director of Client Relations in 2005, she piloted the global deployment of an innovative sales approach called “Clients for Life,” which has significantly boosted the client retention rate while building a strong client-focused culture and contributing to the Group’s rapid growth (Group revenues jumped nearly 50% from 2005 to 2015).
In 2008, Sophie became Managing Director for the Corporate segment in France (8,000 employees, €650 million revenue). She implemented a comprehensive Quality of Life Services offer to clients. Building on her strong commitment to the wellbeing of people, she also mobilized staff in Sodexo’s transformation to become the global leader in Quality of Life services.
Her vision and involvement in multiple innovative sales projects prompted the Board of Directors in January 2013 to entrust her with responsibility for the Group’s Research, Development and Innovation strategy. This responsibility prepared her for her future role as Chairwoman, with its two focuses: continue the company’s record of innovation-led profitable growth while upholding Sodexo’s mission and longstanding values.
Sophie is very committed to boosting diversity and inclusion, as she sees gender balance as a key performance driver. Sodexo is largely recognized for its gender equality policies both in France (no. 1 for gender balance in top Management in 2014 and 2015, according to the French Ministry of Women’s Rights), and internationally (no. 1 for the 2012 Catalyst prize, and top of the 2013 DiversityInc ranking).