20th Dec 2011 - 00:00
Contract caterer and FM provider Aramark has announced that Graham Merchant, who was divisional director with the company until November 2010, has died. he was in his mid-forties.
In a note to colleagues, Aramark UK chief executive Andrew Main said Merchant passed away on December 16 following a short illness related to a hereditary kidney condition. "Many of us have very fond memories of Graham formed during his career with Aramark; a career in which he built our Salvation Army relationship from two small hostels in Scotland to the multi-million UK wide relationship that it now is," said Main. "He was recognised a few years ago at our awards dinner in London as the UK Operator of the year â€“ recognising not only the terrific client relationship management he provided to the Salvation Army but also for his wider leadership of the Healthcare Operations, particularly at Epsom St Hellier and Queen Marys Hospital in Kent. "Since leaving the firm he maintained great relationships with many of his former colleagues and it is of some comfort to know that during his last days a number of his dear friends and members of his family were with him. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to them this evening on their loss and we remember with much fondness, one of the special characters of our recent history." Merchant also won the 2002 Cost Sector Catering District Manager Award. After attending Aberdeen College, his catering career began in 1984 as a commis chef with a 4-star country house hotel. He progressed in the industry, taking his first management post in 1992 with Gardner Merchant. His next move came with his appointment as commercial services manager with Gardner Merchant at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary before joining Aramark in 1998 as general manager. By 2002 his area of responsibility stretched from Irvine (Ayrshire - GlaxoSmithKline) to Scottish and Southern Energy in Peterhead and he was responsible for Â£8 million in annual turnover. He won the Cost Sector award in recognition of the challenges he met in 2001, including renegotiation of a fixed price contract that had been terminated by Aramark, setting up GlaxoSmithKline as a full facilities management contract and the mobilisation of a large group contract. By the time he left Aramark he had spent more than three years as divisional director responsible for healthcare in the UK across 65 NHS and PFI sites. For the past year he had worked as a consultant.