Sodexo Live!, the hospitality partner to the world’s most iconic venues, announces the appointment of Belinda Oakley as its new chief executive officer, North America.
A proven international business leader with two decades of foodservice management experience who has successfully led enterprise growth strategies through operational excellence, innovation and the development of high-performing teams, Oakley takes over to lead 20,000+ team members at 150+ partner venues throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Oakley will join the Sodexo Live! global executive committee and report to Nathalie Bellon-Szabo.
Oakley replaces outgoing CEO Steve Pangburn who will stay on to help with the transition through the end of March 2023 in an advisory capacity. Pangburn has opted to step down in order to spend more time with his family in France, where he will continue working with Sodexo.
According to the company announcement, this evolution in leadership comes as a natural next step in the continued growth story of Sodexo Live! as it prepares for a milestone year in North America, from hosting the Formula One Miami Grand Prix at Hard Rock Stadium and the 2023 MLB All-Star Game at Seattle’s T-Mobile Park to an expected high-volume calendar of meetings and events at convention centers and cultural attractions. Its airport lounge business is also preparing to open multiple new premium lounge spaces with British Airways, as global travel roars back to life.
“As we double down on pursuing our ambitious growth goals, we’re thrilled to welcome Belinda to the team,” Nathalie Bellon-Szabo, Sodexo Live! global chief executive officer, said in the announcement. “She has an outstanding track record in commercial and business development – with Belinda’s leadership and capabilities, the talents and engagement of the North America team and the strong positive momentum of our business, I am confident we will be successful in accelerating our growth in North America.”
A native Australian, Oakley has led organizations on three continents, leveraging her transformative leadership style to build cultures of innovation, driving operational excellence and achieving record results. Most recently, she was the CEO of Chartwells K12, a $1B business where she led 16,000 employees serving 2 million meals daily at 4,400 schools across the U.S. Previously, she also held leadership roles for Famous Brands International, Brumby’s Bakeries and Benugo. Oakley is a graduate of the University of Denver’s Executive MBA program with honors, where she still serves as an Adjunct Professor for the Daniels College of Business.
“It is impossible to put into words the level of excitement I have for this new role. This is a sector and industry I have admired for years now,” Oakley added in the announcement. “We are just getting started, and I look forward to serving the organization and bringing a new perspective to the organization.”