The interviewee: Deborah Rowland
The topic: Her new role as head of public sector affairs at Sodexo
12 December 2016 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
What was your reason/s for taking this new role?
I wanted a new challenge to work with a key supplier who provides public sector services globally. I look forward to helping Sodexo build stronger relationships with its clients in the public sector.
What were the biggest challenges working in your public sector roles?
Due to the nature of the public sector there are constant changes in direction combined with short-term spending cycles that make setting long-term property goals challenging. FM budgets were continuously being reduced, which has significant impact on frontline operations.
What will be the real advantages of working for a FM firm like Sodexo?
It was important for me to find an organisation in which I could use my knowledge and skills from the public sector and the FM industry whilst expanding my experience beyond the UK.
Sodexo's values mirror those of the public sector in that they both want to deliver better services, more efficiently. Sodexo is a strong global brand and I am looking forward to helping the organisation to realise the potential growth of this sector in the UK and support its strategy to grow within the global public sector markets.
What changes do you hope to enact and what do you envision the larger impact being with Sodexo?
In the UK and Ireland Sodexo has a strong brand presence and is known for its ability and performance in the delivery of services in the public and private sector.
My ambition is to join up the successful segments of public sector delivery so that they have a cohesive message to government and other key stakeholders. Another aspect and one that I'm looking forward to is helping Sodexo develop its IFM offering to the global market.
Where is the FM sector headed and how is Sodexo adapting to trends?
The outsourcing of public sector services is growing and governments are looking for experts in their field to deliver services efficiently and to support initiatives to reduce and combine their assets, including the centralisation of key services.
Sodexo has been adapting to the changing marketplace with a global approach to its market segments, enabling the sharing of best practice and resources I will work with the global justice services team on developing its strategy in new markets.
What part will you play in that team?
With my experience of working in the UK justice market, I will support the team as it develops its strategy to grow the justice business into other regions, such as Australia, where Sodexo has won its first contract to manage a new prison.