Bill Toner is Chief Executive of Royal Warrant-holding, national catering company, CH&CO.
A proud Scot, Bill spent his early career learning the hospitality trade in Scotland and he rapidly moved up the corporate ladder with Gardner Merchant. He relocated to London with the company in the 1990s but has maintained strong links with Scotland ever since, running businesses with strong Scottish presences working with clients in business and industry, education and the offshore sector.
He became the UK & Ireland Managing Director of Gardner Merchant’s £600m catering business and following its sale to Sodexo, in 2000 he joined global catering giant, ARAMARK, as CEO of its UK subsidiary, growing the company from £150m to £400m turnover in just five years through a combination of major organic growth, acquisition and entrance to new markets. Bill was at the forefront of developing joint venture relationships and initiatives with world-leading chefs and has worked closely with Brain Turner, Gordon Ramsay and Giorgio Locatelli, as well as the late Gary Rhodes and Charlie Trotter. Bill was awarded a hospitality industry ‘Oscar’, a Catey, in 2002 for Foodservice Caterer of the Year.
Following an IPO in 2005, Bill chose to retire early but was tempted back to the industry in 2010 when he became a shareholder and CEO of Host Management, a small catering company with a £15m turnover, but one with huge potential for growth. Bill’s stewardship saw growth outperform the industry norm and Host integrated four mergers and acquisitions, before merging with CH&CO in 2015, when he also became CEO of the newly expanded business.
The next 4 years saw 5 more mergers and acquisitions, including boutique Scottish caterer, Inspire Catering, and pre-Covid, CH&CO’s turnover had grown to £500m with over 10,000 employees providing services at more than 1,000 client sites across the UK and Ireland.
Throughout his senior career, Bill has played an active part in supporting industry and business groups ranging from being a Trustee on industry charities, Hospitality Action and Springboard UK, to being a past member of the CBI’s London Business group and a Board member of the British Hospitality Association (now called Hospitality UK), along with Adopt a School and Royal Academy of Culinary Arts.
Views from the board
Having heard investors that I know well, actively stepping back from investing in the Scottish economy, I fear for the future and am urging business leaders to share their support for Scotland to remain in the Union of the United Kingdom. It will only be by strength of voice and an evidenced based case that we will be able to defend the will of Scottish businesses of all sizes to remain in the Union.
— Robert D. Kilgour
Patriotism is a love for your country and as a proud Scot I have spent my career helping to build economic opportunities and in attracting investment. I am also proud to be British and passionately want the United Kingdom to endure. To succeed in that aim, we must acknowledge that remaining part of the Union is a key lynchpin in growing Scotland’s wealth.
— Jack Perry CBE